You might remember former Kings coach Michael Malone’s belief that improved defense was the key to turning around the Kings.
One person who appreciates Malone’s stance on that is new coach George Karl.
Karl also realizes the Kings cannot expect to improve without better defense.
Karl hasn’t tinkered much with the foundation Malone established defensively, focusing more on the offense.
“With coach Malone, there’s a base that’s easy to build on,” Karl said. “Every defensive concept you want to try to initiate or magnify or support in a stronger way, it’s there.”
Karl has seen the Kings struggle with their defense at times during his first seven games with the team.
Some of those struggles have a lot to do with mistakes on offense. It’s a familiar theme this season, regardless of who has coached the team.
“Just the rhythm of the season, the defense has had its good moments, but it’s also had its bad moments,” Karl said. “I think we put a lot of stress on our defense with our turnovers and our decisions. I’ve always felt bad offense creates bad defense, and I don’t think there’s any question we’ve had those moments.”
Tied for first – By playing 25 minutes Wednesday against San Antonio, forward Jason Thompson tied Peja Stojakovic for the most games played in the Kings’ Sacramento era with 518.
Mitch Richmond has the second-most games played with 517.
Thompson, the longest-tenured King on the roster, will take over first place when the Kings play at Orlando on Friday.
Run, run, run – The Kings entered Wednesday averaging 20.2 fast-break points under Karl.
Sacramento had a season-high 29 fast-break points in Tuesday’s blowout win at New York.
“I think the team was a better-running team than people said it was,” Karl said. “It was a middle-of-the-pack NBA running team and I want to be in the top five. I think we have a chance to get there by the end of the season.”
Players have said Karl has asked them to run more than they have all season. Karl said there are signs the Kings can accomplish that but said factors over the course of the season like fatigue and travel can impact a team’s ability to run.
It’s also a change in philosophy.
“To expect a drastic change in two weeks, I don’t think it’s fair,” Karl said. “But at times we have looked like a very good running team.”