Alarm bells ring over Kings’ defensive woes
IT'S the defensive statistics that sum up why the Sydney Kings are stranded in last position this season.
Andrew Gaze's men have conceded a whopping 93 points per game in 2017/18, the most in the NBL.
The Kings also possess a defensive efficiency rating of 45.3 per cent this season, while their opponents have averaged 50.3 per cent.
In a further blow, former point guard Derek Rucker recently conducted research on team defensive ratings in the top 12 leagues in the world.
Rucker discovered the Kings' rating ranked them in the bottom five out of approximately 250 teams.
"Their (Sydney's) defensive rating was appalling to say the least," Rucker said on twitter.
Sydney's substandard defence has been a major concern all season.
Coach Gaze has constantly questioned his method in teaching defence, but he hasn't been helped by the team's execution and effort.
Sydney have also battled on the boards all year. The Kings are ranked seventh out of eight teams in defensive rebounds (23.10 per game), while on average they've amassed 78 rebounds less than their rivals this season.
Despite the disappointing statistics, skipper Kevin Lisch says his side's defence is slowly improving.
"That might be hard for people to hear, because our record isn't very good, but I really do believe we are getting there," Lisch said.
"I've liked what I've seen with our heart and competitiveness in these last couple of weeks.
"We've put ourselves in positions to win games against Perth and Adelaide. We didn't win, but there have been some really good steps in the right direction."
The Kings must win two of their remaining seven games to avoid overtaking the 2015/16 team as the worst performed side in franchise history.
Sydney face the daunting task of a double header against back-to-back champions Perth this weekend, before finishing the season with games against Melbourne (H), Cairns (A), Brisbane (H), Brisbane (A) and New Zealand (H).
Lisch, though, is remaining optimistic.
"First and foremost, we want to win these games," he said.
"Andrew and the team share the same mindset that we are not quitting and we will do everything we can to win.
"We are also all playing for our contracts because our team is not doing so well."
The Kings take on the Wildcats in Perth from 9.30pm (AEST) on Friday night.