CHICAGO Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie didn't have to travel with the team to know he sees the players progressing under coach Keith Smart.
Petrie is with the team for part of this season-long six-game trip. He'll break away later this week to scout college games.
Petrie echoed the feelings of ownership, which likes the approach Smart has taken with the Kings' young players since he took over for Paul Westphal on Jan. 5.
"I think we're still trying to find ourselves in some areas in terms of trying to generate more efficient offense," Petrie said. "But the structure is better; the intensity has generally been pretty good.
"It's just a process now of continuing and I think Keith's done a great job of working individually with our young players and trying to educate them about what he wants and what they need to do to be better players and put that together into a team concept. And I think it is showing into some results."
Smart had success working with guards during his eight seasons with Golden State. Part of Smart's plan this season has been to help third-year guard Tyreke Evans become a better passer while staying aggressive on offense.
"Tyreke's had moments of brilliance in some games, and he's still trying to grow into that, and he wants to grow into it," Petrie said. "I think at some point some of these medium-range jump shots will start to go down, and that will open a lot of new avenues for him. But he wants to be good, Keith wants him to be good, we all want him to be better, he's already good."
The Kings have been active at the trade deadline in recent seasons. Last year they dealt Carl Landry to New Orleans for Marcus Thornton. This season's trade deadline is March 15.
Petrie said adding another point guard to go with Evans and rookies Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas isn't necessarily the top priority.
"We have three-point guards on our roster right now," Petrie said. "We want to continue to work with Jimmer and Isaiah and go from there."
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