Let’s get one thing clear: the Sacramento Kings are a franchise that has fallen on hard times.
The Kings have failed to sniff the playoffs for the last eight seasons, but there are new owners committed to keeping the team in Sacramento. A new arena is also in the works. There are also new assistant coaches — a lot of them. But has head coach Michael Malone assembled enough coaching talent to buoy his talented yet unproven roster?
I think he has. Malone clearly detailed his mission and philosophy when it comes to his coaching style at his press conference. The first-year coach has stated that the team will be a pass-first (fingers crossed) team that pushes the tempo and plays defense every night. Basically, all the little things you need to do in order to win. It’s a welcome change over the fly-by-night rotations and non-existent defense of previous coach Keith Smart.
Also, coach Malone has reached out to his biggest star DeMarcus Cousins much like Smart and Paul Westphal did before, but I feel Malone will get better results than his predecessors. Malone and Cousins both hate to lose and are united by that same displeasure. So the resolution is to not lose, and the best way the Kings will do that is if Cousins can stay on the floor and stay out of foul trouble.
But Cousins isn’t the only one on the hook here.
While Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro didn’t exactly break the bank to sign players this offseason, he did spend all of the team’s remaining salary cap money, the first such occurrence in over two years. That kind of smart spending could set Malone and the Kings’ front office up nicely for years to come as the team has flexibility moving forward.
The team added Greivis Vazquez to handle point guard duties and signed the lanky swingman Luc Mbah A Moute to fill out the depth at the small/power forward position. Meanwhile, rookies Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum will be counted on to provide quality minutes to keep the Kings in games.
Time will tell if Malone has done enough, but if player reactions to Malone’s energy are any indication, he has already won over the locker room. Not a bad start for a rookie coach.