The preseason doesn't matter anymore.
If the Kings forgot that, coach Michael Malone reminded his team after a Monday practice that was far below his standards.
"I asked what their record was in the preseason last year, and guess what it was?" Malone said. "It was 5-2. So the preseason doesn't mean a damn thing, and for those guys who thought being 5-2 and doing some good things meant a lot, they couldn't be further from the truth. And they'll have a rude awakening Wednesday night when they play Denver."
That was Malone's message after the lackluster showing from the Kings. Monday's practice followed a day off Saturday and a light day of film and halfcourt work Sunday.
"I would say (Monday) was probably our worst practice of the year," Malone said. "If we (had played) a game (Monday), we would be zero and one to start the season."
It was the first time Malone ripped his team's effort after a practice. He said it was a collectively bad effort.
In case the Kings forgot, their record last season was 28-54, so the returning players should know exhibition play does not translate to regular-season success.
The Kings open the season Wednesday at home against Denver, followed by back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday at home and at Golden State on Saturday.
As Malone noted, all three opponents made the playoffs last season, and the Kings cannot afford bad practices leading up to the regular season.
There were several things Malone didn't like Monday.
"The energy, the effort, the discipline, the focus just wasn't there for whatever reason," Malone said. "I can't explain it. No excuse, no explanation. It was just a bad day for us, and we have to have a much better practice (today) heading into the regular season, three games in four nights."
Some problems on the court occurred in areas Malone is adamant about improving – turnovers and defense.
The Kings have been one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA for a few years and cannot expect to change that by giving up easy points off turnovers.
"Carelessness with the ball, too many turnovers," forward Patrick Patterson said of Monday's practice. "Not getting back in transition, lack of communication, too many people not focused and people just taking it as a day to get by.
"Our coach said we have to get better every day. We can't let one day get away from us."
Patterson came to the Kings from a playoff team (Houston) in a February trade.
"Despite what we did in the preseason, we're not that great of a team," Patterson said. "We still have a lot to prove. We have a lot to work on."
WEDNESDAY'S OPENING NIGHT
What: Kings vs. Denver
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Sleep Train Arena
Pregame party: Parking lots open at 4 p.m. for a FanFest in front of the southeast and southwest entrances.
TV/radio: Ch. 10, 1140
Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.