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The Hoop Doctors

Who Will Rule the Kings in Sacramento While Kevin Martin is Out?

November 11, 2009 – Allen Moll

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen is a regular columnist for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, UpperDeckblog.com, and his own blog, Hoops Haven .

Although the Kings have been in rebuilding mode for a few seasons now, they at least have had one of the NBA’s best kept secrets to lean on for 20+ points per night in Kevin Martin. Now that has changed since the King’s franchise player is out for approximately 8 weeks after tangling up with Allen Iverson in last week’s victory over the Grizzlies. The pain became to much after Martin played all 40 minutes, while scoring 29 points against the Hawks in his next game. A post-game MRI revealed a hairline fracture, necessitating Martin to undergo surgery to repair the injury. The question of the day for Kings’ fans is, who will take over the scoring load for the team?

The obvious answer would be rookie sensation, Tyreke Evans. The 4th overall pick in the most recent NBA Draft out of Memphis has both, shown flashes of his tremendous potential and stretches of inconsistency that one would expect from a rookie in the league. In his 6 games, he is scoring at a respectable 14.7 ppg clip but has not shot the ball with any regularity by scoring as low as 3 points in the win against Memphis, and as high as 32 points in a win against Utah. He has also shown a penchant for turning the ball over, as evidence of his 25 assists and 14 turnovers, while playing more than 33 minutes per game. Even with those deficiencies, Evens remains as Sac-town’s most reliable offensive weapon, with the absence of Martin.

Other options could have been Francisco Garcia or Andres Nocioni, both of which are double digit career scorers, but both are not viable options since both have issues off the court. Garcia, who averaged 12.7 ppg last season for Sacramento, is out for a minimum of 5 months because of a wrist injury he sustained before the season, when a medicine ball he was using burst, as he fell awkwardly on his wrist. Nocioni, whom the Kings brought over from Chicago last season, averaged 13.7 ppg in 23 games for the team in ’08-’09. His status is up in the air because of a recent arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Beno Udrih will be the most likely suspect to replace Martin in the starting lineup alongside Evans at the point. The 6-3, 205 lb point guard, isn’t a real viable option to score since he has a career 7.9 ppg average and has a high scoring game of 15 points in 6 games this season. It would probably take a major step forward for 2nd and 3rd year players, Jason Thompson or Spencer Hawes to make the leap as a leading scorer. Although they are undoubtedly key pieces in the future success for the team, they just haven’t shown that they are ready to lead. Both are progressing nicely with Thompson netting averages of 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds to go along with Hawes’s season marks of 11 points and 7 rebounds, proving they were both worthy of former first round picks.

Time will tell is the obvious answer of who will replace Martin as the team’s go-to-guy since there are a number of unqualified candidates for the job. Replacing a scorer which ranks 3rd in the league at 30.6 ppg would prove to be an impossible task for any team. Maybe Tyreke Evans will see a sudden maturity in his game and become the stud player we all thought he could be after only one year of college. More than likely it will take a team effort consisting of every player stepping up their game just a little or it will be a long 8 weeks, and season for the Kings.

Here are a few highlight of Evans in a recent win over Utah:

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