The Sacramento Kings Come to Charlotte for an Exchange of Baskets

I contend there's no such thing as a boring game in the NBA, because I'm That Pedantic Guy who can't help teasing the semantics of a situation just to get a rise out of people. Of course, the random dude in Calgary won't give a damn about Sacramento at Charlotte, but he's got his own problems, like wondering whether he should make egg salad or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his kids' lunches.

This is a game between yesterday's doormat and today's doormat, but both have an agenda, a burning reason to keep playing. While the Bobcats have improved enough to hang around the Eastern Conference playoff chase, the Kings have totally bottomed out and are already hoping the ping pong balls go their way in the summer. However, the thing about Sacramento is that they've got enough talent on the roster--both realized and untapped--that they're a threat to get back into contention right away if everything breaks just so, and these players should know by now they're auditioning for roles on the next great Kings team.

Three guys have an edge on sticking around. Kevin Martin is a scoring wing who could go down as a Reggie Miller level player. Spencer Hawes is a seven-footer with three point range. Send him to big man camp, boost his rebounds a bit, and he could be a matchup nightmare. Jason Thompson is capable of picking up some of Hawes's rebounding slack from the power forward position. Interestingly, he's had about 60 more attempts than Hawes at the basket, but Hawes converts a slightly higher percentage. In the midrange, Thompson is a much better shooter. But then when they get to three point range, Hawes is far better than Thompson. All that's to say that, similar to Boris and Gerald, Hawes and Thompson have an unusal intersection of skills that should, nonetheless, complement each other.

That's the core of the present and future. Everyone else is either an enigma, an obstacle to a championship caliber player, or both, in the case of my favorite current NBA eccentric, Rashad McCants. I can't figure out if dude is completely out of his gourd, or one of those guys who's so smart it expresses itself in weird ways over the course of the NBA season's grind. Either way, it was comedy gold when he did the whole LeBron-chalk-in-the-air routine to a T just before entering the game in the second quarter.

Let's get this out of the way: The Bobcats should win. Everyone knows this. They have all the motivation they could possibly need, since every win is a precious leap forward in the playoff race, and they're coming off a relatively low-stress victory over the Raptors.

Surrrrriously, guys. Sacramento's leading assist guy, Udrih, is averaging 5.2 per 36, and their next leading assist guy who's actually with the team for this game is Francisco Garcia at 2.7 per 36. The Bobcats, in contrast, have Felton at 6.5, DJ at 5.1, and Boris at 4.8, which goes back to Coach Brown's priorities.

"Play Hard. Play Smart. Play Together. Rebound. Defend." is out and out basketball dorky. It may as well be "Score More Points Than They Do." But just 'cause it's dorky don't mean it ain't a true spirit for winning ball.

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