The Sacramento Kings May Have Tried Their 4-On-5 Cherry Picker Play For The 1st Time

When the Sacramento Kings fired head coach Mike Malone earlier in December, there was talk about the Kings implementing some new basketball philosophies.

Perhaps the most interesting rumour was that Kings owner Vivek Randive wanted to implement a 4-on-5 defensive scheme, where a Kings player doesn’t run back on defence and cherry picks for an easy basket when the Kings get the ball back.

Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets, it looked like the Kings ran one of those 4-on-5 plays, but nobody can tell if it was intentional.

In the second quarter, the Kings turned the ball over, and center Reggie Evans (#30, on the right) began walking to the bench to sub out and DeMarcus Cousins (left) was on the sidelines getting ready to check in.

Kings 4 on 5 play 1

But Cousins never checked in, which left the Kings playing one man short on the defensive end.

After the Nets missed a shot, Kings guard Ray McCallum grabbed the rebound, raced ahead, and found Evans back in the game, waiting under the basket. Cousins, meanwhile, was still on the sidelines waiting.

Kings 4 on 5 play 2

Unfortunately for Sacramento, Evans missed the dunk.

Sacramento Kings 4 on 5 play fails GIF

It’s tough to tell whether this was intentional or not. Some, like Deadspin’s Rohan Nadkarni, think Evans just accidentally subbed himself out. CBS’s Matt Moore thinks it was intentional, because the idea of a 4-on-5 play is fun.

On one hand, there’s the prior report that suggests the Kings want to try this type of thing. On the other, Reggie Evans is one of the least reliable offensive players in the NBA, but can rebound and block shots, so it would seem a team would want him on the defensive end, not as the cherry picker.

The Kings bench seemed pretty fired up as Evans rose for the dunk, too, which suggests they maybe knew it was coming.

If this type of thing happens again, we’ll know Sacramento is certainly practicing these plays, especially since it nearly worked this time.