Louis King is the first official member of the “Too Good for G League” team. As part of the Westchester Knicks, Louis King in the game today dominated on both ends of the court to help lead the Knicks over the Swarm by a score of 118-106 despite Jared Harper going down early with an injury.
Jared Harper ended up in a walking boot in the 2nd half after injuring his ankle badly in the first few minutes of the game. After posting 31 points and 13 assists in the Knicks’ first game of the season, Harper’s absence left the scoring and playmaking in the hands of Tyler Hall, Myles Powell, and the player I’ll be focusing on now, Louis King.
In the first game of the year, Louis King came off the bench and played under 20 minutes, shooting the ball only twice (He made both shots). Today, he was much more aggressive on the offensive end, but still showcased his elite IQ on the defensive side of the ball.
Passing/Creating for Others
Louis King showed the ability to create off the dribble time and time again in the game today. Not often would his passes result in assists, but that generally was not his fault. Most importantly, the passes he would deliver would be timely and would put his teammates in good positions to score.
The quick decision making is what stood out. The action was decisive, leading to early, good offense. Myles Powell usually took up the ball, but when King got it, he’d get straight into running two-man games or taking his opponent off the dribble. He’d force the defense to crash and then kick out to the corner or lay off a beautiful pocket pass to a rolling big. Here are a few examples:
Off the Dribble Scoring/Shooting
Part of Louis King being able to create for others has to do with his improved handle this year. It’s compact and he’s able to use it to his advantage whereas at times it would lead him into shots that he didn’t want to take last year.
While King shot 1/5 from deep, he did show some scoring and shooting flashes that certainly point towards him finding success from deep. (Of those 2 shots I had mentioned he hit yesterday, one was a made three.)
Inside the arc is where he flourished today, creating plenty of space with that improved handle and an array of moves we didn’t often see at Oregon.
He made one shot from the corner on a stand-still opportunity, but he definitely seemed much more comfortable putting the ball down and attacking today.
When attacking, Louis King showed an elite touch around the basket. He utilized floaters, runners, and often used his body to shield himself from the rim protectors in order to finish. He is comfortable using either hand around the rim.
King just seems much more under control when initiating offense this year. Moving off ball is one big component that helps him get easier buckets. He has showed the ability to come off of DHO’s as well as make cuts to the appropriate spots to fit into passing lanes for teammates.
Even on his misses, he is showcasing the talent that points towards King being a future NBA full-time rotational player.
On Ball Defense
Louis King did a fine job of sticking with his man tonight. He doesn’t have elite lateral quickness, but he puts in the effort and takes the right angles to disallow any easy buckets.
King’s 7’0 wingpsan is what will aid him significantly on defense. There were a few occasions where King got beat off the dribble, but was able to poke the ball away from the defender because of his long arms. He’s going to pick pocket some players at times that could lead to easy transition points.
King had 2 steals in the contest, but he also happened to have 3 blocks as well. You can see two of the three below and you can see how that wingspan can make up for the space that was created from the quicker step from the initiator.
He times jumps well and doesn’t swipe at the shooter without purpose. He only gets off his feet if the initiator already has.
Off Ball Defense
The last component I’ll discuss is his off ball defense. There was one thing particularly I wanted to highlight that I saw a few times in the game today. With everything I noted regarding his on ball defense, the common factor across the board for King is a high defensive IQ. I think these clips will prove just that.
It’s always fascinating to see what players do as the opposing team is in transition with numbers. Some just become a ball watcher while others get in position to stop the ball. Not many players communicate and rotate to the open man like Louis King does.
Watch these clips below and see how he always floats to the corner or at least threatens to go there to not allow any other option for the ball handler other than shooting the rock.
In case you missed it, in that last clip he does it twice.
It’s an instinctual thing for Louis King, sometimes you notice that he doesn’t even swivel his head yet still knows where he has to be to cut off any swing to the corner.
Stats and Final Thoughts
Stats: 21 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 3 BLK, 3 TO, 9/15 FG, 1/5 3PT, 2/3 FT
Louis King had an outstanding game today for the Westchester Knicks and certainly played today like he was one of the best five players in the entire G League bubble. If this production continues from him, I can’t imagine an NBA team letting him sit without a full-time NBA contract for too much longer.
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