Sacramento Coach Keith Smart Frustrated With Team's Defensive Ineptness

By John Raffel
Keith Smart

Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart realizes that full well and is hoping that will sink into the hearts and minds of his players after suffering their fourth straight loss on Friday night 122-108 to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Kings have to realize one of these years that their 19-37 record is deserved for lack of defense, more so than offense.

Against the Hawks, the Kings had two steals and turned the ball over 15 times. The Hawks had seven steals and six turnovers. Those two stats right there indicate why the Kings’ defense didn’t do the job.

Sacramento couldn’t shut down the Hawk shooting offense, which was 49-of-92 from the floor for 53.3 percent. The Hawks held the Kings offense to 43.2 percent.

It’s certainly not that the Kings don’t have talented offensive players.

Isaiah Thomas has been impressive lately, including 30 points and nine assists against the Hawks. DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and is putting in quality minutes, but it’s not enough as Sacramento still lacks the key defensive players to have a competitive team each night.

It’s still a young team and younger NBA players are obviously the last to learn how to play the best defense at that level. Evans is in his fourth season, Cousins in his third and Thomas his second. There’s still plenty of inexperience and the Kings will keep losing the high scoring games until the best offensive players start focusing on the defensive end.

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