Kings fall to Warriors in preseason opener
10/08/2013 12:00 AM
11/09/2013 8:13 AM
OAKLAND – It's hard to treat a game against the Golden State Warriors like any other game, even if it is just the preseason.
The Kings' chairman and principal owner, Vivek Ranadive, is only months removed from being a minority owner with the Warriors. Kings coach Michael Malone spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach on Mark Jackson's staff with Golden State.
Kings adviser Chris Mullin's No. 17 jersey is retired by the Warriors, and Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro is a former assistant GM with Golden State.
But what might trump all that is Monday was Ranadive's 56th birthday.
"I probably have more pressure on me than any other coach in his first preseason game," Malone joked before the game.
Monday night's preseason opener was the first time the Kings under Ranadive were on display in what figures to be a long rebuilding process for a team that has missed the playoffs the last seven seasons.
The Kings lost 94-81 at Oracle Arena.
Aside from the preseason game, it was another night when there was talk of the similarities between the franchises and the connections.
The Warriors hadn't made the playoffs since 2007 before advancing to the Western Conference semifinals last season.
If there's anything the Kings would like to emulate, it's ending their extended absence from the postseason.
"(Ranadive has) been great," Malone said. "He's been so passionate about this team and the process and the vision we have for this team, and he realizes this is not going to be an overnight process. It's going to take a lot of time and patience, and we're committed to that."
Besides the leadership connections with the Warriors, the Kings signed forward Carl Landry, a key reserve for the Warriors last season.
Jackson said it should be no surprise the rebuilding Kings are similar to the Warriors.
"When you have an owner (Ranadive) that has been part of this ownership group he's passionate, and he sat and witnessed what has turned around here," Jackson said. "Very bright man, and he would be wrong to not try and copy some things here. I'm sure, knowing him, he's put together some quality people. Should be very interesting."
Malone was Jackson's lead assistant last season. Jackson noted that many of the concepts and schemes in the NBA are similar but expects Malone to put his imprint on the Kings.
So the Kings won't exactly be Warriors North.
"It's great, and I'm happy for him," Jackson said of Malone. "We've spent a lot of time together, and he played a key role with the success of this team and my staff. He deserves this chance, and I'm sure he'll be great."
Malone's focus remains on changing the losing culture in Sacramento.
He helped the Warriors go from a team that was known for poor defense to a group that made opponents work to score.
"Our reasonable expectation is to compete, play hard, be unselfish and defend," Malone said. "I'm not going to put any amount of wins or numbers on that, because that would be unfair to this team. We are trying to change a culture. We are trying to become a team that defends and takes pride in our defense."
With all the work that needs to be done to improve the Kings, Malone wasn't sentimental about coaching against his previous employer.
"This is just another day," Malone said.
Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.
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