Coach in one place for eight years, as Keith Smart did with the Warriors, and you get to know a lot of people.
For Smart, returning to Oracle Arena as a Kings assistant coach this preseason helped drive that point home.
"From an organization standpoint to the security people at the arena, you just knew everyone," Smart said. "It felt like you were going back into a home, and yet you had to go into the visitors' locker room."
Those unfamiliar quarters wait again as Smart returns to Oakland tonight for the first time as head coach of the Kings. Smart spent seven years (2003-10) as an assistant coach for the Warriors, before he was named their head coach prior to last season and then let go after the 2010-11 campaign.
Smart said he considers his time with the Warriors in particular his four seasons as an assistant under former head coach Don Nelson a vital step in his development.
Toward the latter part of Nelson's tenure, Smart said, Nelson would task him with such head-coaching duties as drawing up practice plans and running practices, weighing disciplinary actions for players and, at times, taking the reins during games.
"(Nelson) said you run it and do it how you would do it if you were the head coach," Smart said. "By the time I got a chance to be a head coach, I had already had so much NBA experience."
The Warriors were 36-46 last season under Smart. Though it was an improvement of 10 wins over the previous season, Smart drafted in 1988 by Golden State as a player out of Indiana was fired.
Smart said Monday there are no hard feelings toward the Warriors, who are 6-12 under first-year head coach Mark Jackson.
"New ownership came in (after last season) and even with (Warriors owner) Joe Lacob saying, 'Hey, we have our own guy,' I understood that," Smart said. "I didn't like it, because I would've loved to continue to build, but I had that feeling that it was going to probably change.
"New ownership, people want their own people, and when you pay $450 million for it, you do what you need to do with it," he said. "I just focused on doing my job, knowing what I need to do to coach in the NBA and prove that I can coach in the NBA.
"When I got this position here, Joe Lacob texted me to say, 'Congratulations,' and 'I'm glad you landed on your feet.' "
The Kings are 4-9 since Smart took over as head coach Jan. 5. With the Kings playing just one game in the past five days, Smart said he has had time to introduce more detail in practices.
Instruction continued following Monday's practice. Smart placed two pieces of tape on the floor near the right elbow and had guard Tyreke Evans practice shooting with a foot behind each piece, jumping straight up for better balance in his shot.
"He's doing a lot of teaching that is vital to this team," said forward-center Chuck Hayes. "Breaking down the game, understanding the position you're in. You can get overwhelmed with the way you played, if you won or lost, but he's doing a lot of teaching, which I think is great."
Nagging shoulder Hayes said he was forced to leave the Kings' loss to the Jazz on Saturday with seconds remaining when the left shoulder he dislocated earlier this month "popped out" again momentarily.
He said he is aware that could be a recurring problem as he strengthens the muscles and ligament in the shoulder area, but he will continue to play and, for the time being, wear a protective brace on the shoulder.
"I'm going to play," Hayes said. "It's more like a repeated ankle sprain. Once the dislocation happens, it's done. All you're going to do now is just treat it. If it pops out, just pop it right back in, as long as there's no knock on wood second dislocation."