If Kings coach Michael Malone sounds like a broken record, so be it.
He’ll continue with the same tired tune before, during and after practice and games – the themes of fundamental basketball, defense and sharing the ball.
“I hope (our team) gets it,” Malone said Monday as the Kings prepared for Wednesday’s season opener against the Warriors at Sleep Train Arena. “But I have to be honest with you. I have my doubts. I know they’re tired of me saying it all preseason long. I say, ‘Fellas, go home and look at the opening schedule we have. The NBA hasn’t done us any favors. It’s a bear. We have to be ready to play.’ I think they understand it.”
Malone paused, then continued.
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“Sometimes you have to be cracked in the jaw to understand the message, meaning a loss,” he said. “I hope that’s not who we are. I hope we have enough respect for our schedule and our opponent, and the fact that we don’t want to have another 28-win season. We have to be ready.”
Malone said he wants his players to reduce their turnovers, which should happen if they don’t over-dribble. And he wants them to share the ball.
In other words, execute his game plan and not just nod.
“Sometimes it gets away from us,” Malone said of the team’s offensive rhythm. “We can’t afford to give good teams extra possessions. It’s something we continue to monitor. We have to hold guys accountable, watch film, teach, (use) spacing. It’s a work in progress.
“I can only hope we don’t throw the ball all over the place and hit the popcorn (person) in the third row. Our talent level is not good enough where we can have wasted possessions.”
Malone said the Kings have a difficult task trying to slow Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, perhaps the NBA’s most dynamic and prolific backcourt. The Warriors went 4-0 against the Kings last season, often with Curry and Thompson dominating, particularly with their outside shooting.
“All the familiarity we have with them doesn’t stop Thompson and Curry,” Malone said. “Those guys ... destroyed us last year. We have to know where they are at all times in transition. We can’t allow any air space or separation with them.
“I can only hope we’ll have a lot more discipline playing them this year. If they hit tough shots, they hit them because they’re great players. It’s the uncontested, wide-open shots, the breakdowns in game plans or lack of game plan discipline that wind up costing you.”
Kings players agreed the Warriors can humble teams, particularly if the defense is a step slow.
“We know Golden State is a great test,” guard Ramon Sessions said. “They run the floor, shoot. We have to be ready. Definitely, defensive effort starts with the guards, and we have to get stops on Thompson and Curry.”
Sessions said defense often comes down to pride.
“For us, it’s more on the effort side,” he said. “We all know what we need to do. We’re professionals. It needs to be all five of us on the floor.”
Veteran forward Jason Thompson said defense will define the Kings. He said they cannot allow an easy path to the rim.
Ultimately, he added, “We’re judged by how we do, how we make stops and if we win games.”
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.
WARRIORS AT KINGS
▪ When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
▪ TV: CSNCA