Prior to every game, Kings coach Michael Malone usually can rattle off a stat that goes a little deeper than just points and rebounds.
Saturday’s nugget before the Kings played the Orlando Magic at Sleep Train Arena was the Magic are second in the NBA in drives into the paint.
While Malone has plenty of numbers to use, he tries to keep things simple when dispensing information to his team in an era where some are obsessed with statistics and analytics.
“Our job is to prepare, and we have a great staff and prepare very well and give our team meaningful information,” Malone said. “Not to overload them but fully understand the opponent we’re playing and simplify it for them.”
The hope is players would follow through with the game plan when given more than the basic statistics.
As Malone can attest, that’s not always the case.
“As you watch us play, there are nights where they process it well and nights where they don’t process it at all,” Malone said.
Rookie woes – Malone remains steadfast in his support of first-year guard Nik Stauskas, who entered Saturday’s game shooting 2 of 13 in his last five games and 30.6 percent on the season.
“I just know there’s going to be a breakout,” Malone said.
Malone’s confidence that will happen is based on what he’s seen from Stauskas in practices, even though “he hasn’t done it in a game yet.”
The coach believes it will be a matter of time before Stauskas finds his way.
“He’s had a few moments, but think about it all year, last year Ben McLemore was one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA, according to some people,” Malone said.
This season McLemore has become the Kings’ best three-point shooter along with improved defense.
On the mend – Kings lead assistant coach Tyrone Corbin missed his second consecutive game after recently injuring his Achilles’.
Chris Jent, who was the lead assistant last year, has resumed those duties with Corbin out. Corbin is expected to rejoin the team in the near future.
Still encouraged – When the Kings pulled out a 102-101 overtime win over Indiana on Friday, they moved above .500 at 10-9.
The Kings have not been above .500 this late in the season since the 2004-05 season, when they began 13-6.
After 19 games last season, the Kings were 6-13.