What's Wrong With Sacramento? Tom Ziller Points Fingers

The idea is that they ought to be great, right? Who can't remember Mike Bibby almost beating Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant back in the day? And Ron Artest, wasn't he on the cover of Sports Illustrated not too long ago, with Larry Bird saying something about him being the best player in the league? Isn't Kevin Martin the leading candidate for most improved player? Don't they have a hot shot young coach? Isn't Brad Miller the best passing big man in the league or something, and isn't he on Team USA? Don't we still love Shareef Abdur-Rahim? Wasn't everyone excited about draftee Quincy Douby?

But they're pretty lame, as in, they just lost to the Blazers, and that wasn't even the worst part of their week.

What went wrong?

Tom Ziller crunched some numbers examining how Ron Artest and Mike Bibby, as the team's leading tandem, compare to the tandems leading the rest of the league.

Mike Bibby and Ron Artest make up the third-worst 1-2 punch in the league, ahead of only the vaunted tandems of Andre Miller/Willie Green and Adam Morrison/Raymond Felton. (By the way, Charlotte and Philadelphia have a combined record of 22-54, a robust winning percentage of .289. They are two of the worst four teams in the league.)

Teams can't be solely judged by their tandems - Boston and Memphis are horrible precisely because they have little behind their big twos, and Detroit and Utah rely on four or five big scorers in rather egalitarian systems where there is little difference in the number of shot attempts between Weapons #1 and #2, and Weapons #3 and #4.

This is where Sacramento suffers from the worst of both worlds. Outside of Bibby/Artest, only Kevin Martin shoots more than nine shots a game, which makes Bibby/Artest a very important 1-2 punch. But Bibby/Artest sucks as a 1-2 punch. The problem is defined.