I may be in the minority, but I feel that the Sacramento Kings should be better than they are. The last time this franchise won a playoff series was almost a decade ago (yikes) and this current group is certain to be the eighth straight Kings squad to finish either last or second last in the Pacific Division. Every aspect of the Kings has been hurt with their recent ineptness (article on the Kings likely relocating is HERE) and I need to see marked improvements from this team – especially on defense.
The Kings were the worst team in the NBA last season for points allowed, and this season they are looking like they will be dreadful enough on the defensive end to repeat that massive level of futility. The roster has a ton of potential offensively, but the defensive improvements will have to come from the coaches finding ways to coach up these young players, and also coming up with strategies/schemes to help bring their team defense to a much needed higher level. I do not have a lot of faith in these players to improve their defense through their own development as none of the Kings seem to have a lot of potential on D, so I am looking at Keith Smart and his coaching staff to be the difference makers that improve the Kings on that end of the court.
Smart has seemingly struggled to find a consistent rotation that he likes or wants to use regularly and that is one thing that surely needs to improve as things like trust and gelling need to develop on the defensive end for the Kings. Assistant Coach Alex English is more of an offensive guy, but I am looking for coaches like Jim Eyen and Clifford Ray to improve the Kings defense.
Eyen worked under Mike Dunleavy who is a coach that had several teams get wins through balance on offense and defense so he is going to have some things up his sleeve for defense, plus Ray was a 10 year NBA player who anchored defenses as a player and has a ton of coaching experience.
Longtime Kings guard Bobby Jackson was added to the coaching staff the same time as Smart, and surely he is a guy who can help this team develop their defense. Jackson played with the effort and physicality sorely missing in the NBA these days, especially in SacTown. Smart and Jackson could be up-and-comers in the coaching game and getting this Kings team to defend is the best place for them to start.
Craig Ballard is a NFL/NBA/MLB writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @craigballard77