Can Keith Smart Turn Sacramento Kings Around?
The Sacramento Kings have not been the same team since losing one of the best Western Conference Finals of all time in 2002 to the Los Angeles Lakers. After a horrible start to the season, head coach Paul Westphal was shown the door after a horrible loss and a spat with young center DeMarcus Cousins.
Keith Smart has a long list of things he needs to do to turn this franchise around as a head coach. His first and probably most important item is to develop a strong relationship with Cousins. Cousins is by far not the smartest player in the NBA, but he can be an impact player, and he must be on Smart’s side.
Secondly, he needs to bring consistency to this team. One of Westphal’s downfalls was the inconsistency in starting lineups. One day a player would start, and the next day he would not play much. The starting lineup does not have to be the exact same every night, but players cannot be shuffled in and out every single game.
Smart’s third agenda item should be offense. Sacramento is seventeenth in the NBA for points scored per game at 93.4. A secondary goal for this should be developing Tyreke Evans’ passing game. The Kings are averaging a NBA worst 14 assists per game.
Defensively, the Kings are third worst in the NBA giving up over 102 points per game. Jimmer Fredette can help this team offensively, but Smart also needs to get him to play defense. Jimmer’s lack of dedication on that side is limiting not only his minutes, but it is hurting his team’s offense because he is not playing.
Keith Smart is really good at communicating and building relationships with his players. If Smart can get the players to buy into his program, the Kings have a chance to finish near .500.
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