Report: Kings Owner Pitched Idea Of 4-On-5 Defense With Cherry-Picker

We love forward, outside-the-box thinking in the NBA, and are absolutely thrilled that the Brothers Maloof sold the Sacramento Kings. But owner Vivek Ranadivé might want to pump the breaks on his enthusiasm for zany in-game strategy. According to Grantland’s Zach Lowe, Ranadivé recently floated the idea of playing 4-on-5 defense with a cherry-picker to leading franchise officials.

Owner Vivek Ranadivé has pitched the idea to the team’s brain trust of playing 4-on-5 defense and leaving one player to cherry-pick, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. The Kings aren’t actually going to do that, but their D-League might, and it shows Ranadivé is committed to pushing boundaries in his search for an offbeat brand of “position-less” ball.


Again, we appreciate any potential league innovation. Basketball should constantly be moving forward. But this idea is absolutely nuts, and suggests Ranadivé has little grasp of what it takes to build a successful team.

Simply, NBA players are simply too good for a team to yield easy shot after easy shot by placing a player on the other side of halfcourt. And though it’s easy to believe that a team employing such a strategy would score on the vast majority of its possessions, that ignores the speed and athleticism of modern athletes let alone ability of coaches to adjust. Unless the defending quartet in question boasts prime versions of LeBron James, Scottie Pippen, Kevin Garnett, and Hakeem Olajuwon, it would simply be a losing proposition – and even that group would get smoked.

That’s before accounting for what this would to the game’s integrity, too. While we disagree immensely with those traditionalists who maintain floor-stretching big men and a reliance on three-pointers is doing that exact thing, playing 4-on-5 defense isn’t exactly the same as spacing the court and maximizing efficiency. The Kings would get lambasted if they ever tried that approach.

But hey, maybe we’re not giving Ranadivé enough credit. If the Reno Bighorns are really going to try it out, there must be something in the numbers supporting its viability. Right? Or maybe they’re just placating an active and engaged owner. Either way, don’t ever expect to see Sacramento exercise such a plan.

What do you think?

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