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Geoff Petrie has the Kings all wrong

Nov 17, 2010, 2:37 PM EDT

Geoff Petrie

The last thing that any sports fan wants to read or hear is that their team’s leadership — owners, coaches, GMs, etc. — doesn’t seem to know something that they obviously should. With that in mind, I’d encourage all Kings fans who planned on feeling good about their team’s direction today to move along and look for rosier content elsewhere.

In a meeting with Kings season ticket holders, Geoff Petrie, the team’s President of Basketball Operations, apparently conveyed that Sacramento’s biggest struggles lie on the offensive end. That inspired Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty to bust out an array of statistics as a counterpoint, along with an embedded worry over the fact that Petrie’s evaluation was so misguided:

On the season, Minnesota is averaging 100 points per 100 possessions. In two games against the Kings, the Wolves have produced 113 and 102 points per 100 possessions. The Cavs produced 114 points per 100 possessions against the Kings, and just 104 against eight other teams. The Raptors: 105 against the NBA, 120 against the Kings. Memphis: 103 against the league, 108 against the Kings.

And the real coup de grace, the magnificent capper in what felt like a huge game for the immediate future of the Sacramento Kings: the team managed to hold the Detroit Pistons, they of the 104 points per 100 possessions average on the season, to a completely understandable … 116 points per 100 possessions. The Pistons shot 54% from the floor, by the way. On the season, they have shot 44%.

But defense isn’t the problem for the Kings? #RUKIDDINME?

At some point, most of the people who make decisions in the NBA will be forced to answer public questions in order to either assess or justify those decisions. That leads to a lot of cliché-obscured sound bites, but in some cases, we get this: just a blatantly wrong evaluation by someone who needs to know better. The Kings are the worst defensive team in the league, and Petrie really wants to pawn off the idea that offense is the problem?

Even if Petrie is dumbing down his message for his audience, that only makes this a bit less worrisome and a bit more sinister. When asked point-blank about the regard in which a team is struggling, we should expect every coach, executive, or owner to give a straight answer. The intent matters, but there’s no way around viewing this as a negative for Petrie and the Kings. Either Petrie is willingly attempting to deceive all of us on the outside for his own purposes and amusement, or he doesn’t fully understand why his team is bad. If forced to choose, I suppose misdirection is less depressing than incompetence, but neither suits Petrie particularly well.

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