Having coached the Kings for 29 games, George Karl has assessed the Kings’ needs as the offseason nears, and his wish list is extensive.
“I think we need a defensive player, and we need an offensive player,” he said. “I think we need a passer, a playmaking scorer. A guy who doesn’t play point but off the ball is a playmaker.”
“Can we bring a stopper in here to take on the mentality of you can put him on the best player? … Every coach wants more shooting, and there’s no question the game is making the three ball become extremely important. I’ll take one of all them.”
Karl had to make do with what was left of his injury-plagued roster Monday night as the Kings closed their home schedule with a 102-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena.
Omri Casspi scored a game-high 26 points, and Derrick Williams added a season-high 20 points off the bench to help the Kings end a three-game losing streak.
“We wanted to come out and get this win,” Williams said. “I think everybody wants to play well, especially the last home game of the season. So if you want to make a stamp, especially going into next season, going out with a win, I think that’s the main focus.”
The Kings have shut down their top three scorers – DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Darren Collison – for the season. But even with his team at full strength, Karl would like the front office to address the aforementioned areas.
“That’s (general manager) Pete (D’Alessandro) and (vice president) Vlade (Divac’s) area of expertise,” Karl said. “I’ve had some great players, and I never had one player that I’ve said is untradeable. You’ve always got to be ready for the possibility of a great trade.”
After a flurry of trades last season, the only deal the Kings made this season was an exchange of backup point guards when Andre Miller was acquired from Washington for Ramon Sessions.
As for the current roster, Karl’s desires fall in line with those of his two predecessors, Michael Malone and Tyrone Corbin.
“I think we know our weaknesses,” Karl said. “We have the turnover problems at the offensive end of the court, and defensively, we have transition situations that get us in trouble, and we don’t rebound the ball all the time.
“I would like the pass to become more valuable, more important in our our offense, and I think it’s been doing that.”
Karl has welcomed Casspi’s and Williams’ improved play. The coach also believes the Kings easily would have surpassed last season’s win total of 28 had Collison not been out since Feb. 5 because of a core muscle injury.
Karl believes Cousins and Gay will be better next season. Much was made about the relationship between Karl and Cousins and how it would develop, considering Cousins’ strong allegiance to Malone.
Karl is doing his best to make inroads. He said Cousins has no holes in his game and has praised the center’s basketball IQ.
“I know I respect him a tremendous amount,” Karl said. “Just the way any good offensive player can border on being selfish, there’s always going to be a little conflict there. But I think our give-and-take, our communication is almost on a daily basis, and I think that will continue until we can get to a special place together. We have to continue to communicate.”
The Karl-Cousins dynamic is just one of many elements as the Kings try to avoid a 10th consecutive losing season in 2015-16.