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  • Michael Malone: The Kings' new coach says his father "can be a great resource."

  • Brendan Malone: He has won two NBA championships as an assistant coach.

New Kings coach Malone sets realistic goals for first year

Published: Sunday, Jun. 2, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 8:32 am

Michael Malone is secure as a coach.

He isn't a powerful motivational speaker with a preacher's background like Mark Jackson, his former boss with the Warriors.

Nor is he Monty Williams, Mike Brown, Don Chaney, Lenny Wilkens or Jeff Van Gundy, other NBA coaches for whom he has worked.

Nor is he a clone of his father, longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone.

"As you mature and as you grow, you start to form your own vision, your own philosophy," said Malone, who will be formally introduced Monday as the Kings' new head coach.

After 12 seasons as an NBA assistant, Malone has landed his first job as a head coach, and he looks forward to imparting his philosophy on a team that has become accustomed to losing, with seven consecutive losing seasons. He takes over a squad that has some talented one-on-one players who have struggled to play together as a team and been occasionally indifferent on defense.

Malone has plans to correct the Kings' problems, he told The Bee on Saturday, but has realistic goals.

"For me, it's not going to be in wins and losses," Malone said. "That's not to say we don't want to win, but for me, we're going to judge success in Year One based off of three things. Did we change the culture, did we establish ourselves as a defensive team, and then, obviously, did our players develop?"

Malone said he will take something from all the coaches he's worked for and bring his own spin to Sacramento.

Malone was brought to the NBA as an assistant for Van Gundy in New York, then he learned under Chaney and Wilkens with the Knicks before moving to Cleveland to work for Brown.

In Cleveland, Malone crafted his reputation as a defensive wizard. The Cavaliers won 66 games in 2008-09 with Malone as the defensive coordinator for one of the stingiest teams in the league.

Malone helped New Orleans improve on defense in 2010-11 before joining Jackson's staff with the Warriors. Golden State improved on defense, holding teams to 43.9 percent shooting this season, fourth best in the NBA.

The Kings (47.2 percent) were 28th and allowed a league-high 105.1 points per game.

Malone said the Kings can play good defense and still be an exciting team.

"There's a perception out there that if you're a good defensive team, you're going to walk the ball up the court and play in the 80s (scoring)," Malone said. "We didn't do that this year in Golden State and we still had a very good defensive team, and we got out and ran and scored a pretty high and efficient rate."

The Warriors averaged 101.2 points, seventh in the league.

Malone said he hasn't spoken with any of his new players. He knows guard Marcus Thornton, whom he coached in New Orleans.

Malone said his coaching staff would include his father in some capacity to stress hard work and discipline.

"A lot of people assume that it goes on at every NBA team, but in my 12 years in the NBA, apparently it doesn't happen everywhere," Malone said. "Changing the culture means we're going to have accountability, we're going to have discipline, and we're not going to allow a lot of things that losing teams allow to exist."

To make that happen, Malone will need to win the trust of players who have grown accustomed to not always responding to their coaches. It also will mean connecting with center DeMarcus Cousins and coaxing effort out of players who felt their roles weren't defined under former coach Keith Smart.

Malone believes his philosophy is proven based on his previous jobs and that he can reach the Kings.

"If players know you really believe in them, they're willing to run through a wall for you," Malone said. "… Yes, we're going to get after it, but you can also have fun while you're doing it."

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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