For the 10th consecutive season, the Kings will finish under .500 after offseason expectations of a winning record and playoff contention.
Entering the season, a winning record seemed realistic, even if a playoff berth seemed to be a stretch given the depth in the Western Conference. As the season winds down, a record close to or just above .500 will be enough to make the playoffs in the West.
After a flurry of offseason moves, general manager Vlade Divac anticipated a turnaround this season.
“Summer expectations, I think, are always blown out of proportion when you put 10 new players on a roster,” coach George Karl said. “We were hopeful, we felt, in the hopefulness of the quest (for a winning season).”
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Karl continues to point out the positives.
“We’ve played good basketball,” he said. “We’ve had our good moments this year. We’ve had stretches where it looked like we were going to turn the corner, and we’ve had stretches of schedule where the schedule has been extremely difficult, like the last three weeks probably. And digging out of that hole and rebuilding and regrouping your confidence isn’t always as easy as people think it is.”
Summer expectations, I think, are always blown out of proportion when you put 10 new players on a roster. We were hopeful, we felt, in the hopefulness of the quest (for a winning season).
Kings coach George Karl
Neither the roster changes nor the schedule has made the losses easier to accept. Karl said he deals with losing differently than he did earlier in his coaching career.
“I think I’m a lot more balanced as a human being now,” he said. “I’ve said that because of my cancer situations, and I’ve learned to not take the game home with me as much as I probably did when I was younger. In the same instance, there’s more junk, more scrutiny, more interpretation, more rumors, more opinion floating around on the Internet on a daily basis. I’m not one to study that stuff anymore.”
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DeMarcus Cousins’ ability to make three-pointers adds to the opposition’s concerns about how to contain him.
But New York Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis said Cousins’ inside game remains the most dangerous part of his arsenal.
“It’s a part of his game that he’s added, but it’s more about him getting in the post and being able to score inside and draw double teams and pass the ball,” Rambis said. “He’s also nimble enough to where he can put the ball on the floor when he catches the ball in mid-range situations so that he can either hit that shot or attack the basket, and he does a good job of drawing fouls. Those are the more problem areas.”
I think I’m a lot more balanced as a human being now. I’ve said that because of my cancer situations, and I’ve learned to not take the game home with me as much as I probably did when I was younger.
Kings coach George Karl, on dealing with losing
Mum’s the word – Karl was mindful of his wallet when asked whether Knicks star Carmelo Anthony would be better off playing with another star at this stage of the forward’s career.
Karl, who coached Anthony with the Denver Nuggets, didn’t want to risk a league fine for remarks that could be interpreted as tampering.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Karl said. “It cost me like $35,000 last year.”