Dave Joerger’s vision for the Kings is simple.
“Hopefully our identity will be that we’re going to come out and compete hard,” the first-year coach said before the season opener Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.
Joerger, however, realizes it won’t be easy. The Kings have had plenty of instability in recent seasons, so he must keep the team focused on the big picture. Joerger is the Kings’ fourth head coach since December 2014.
Believe in the future and believe it’s going to keep getting better if we put in our work and that we’ll continue to have success going forward even if there are some bumps in the road.
Dave Joerger, Kings coach
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“There’s been some rocky times in Sacramento the last couple years, and you don’t want them to get to the point in games or during the season where they go, ‘Here we go again,’ let go of the rope or slide a little bit,” Joerger said.
“Believe in the future and believe it’s going to keep getting better if we put in our work and that we’ll continue to have success going forward even if there are some bumps in the road.”
Joerger said the Kings have only about one-quarter to one-third of their offense installed, so he expects them to get “frantic” at times and make mistakes.
What he fears is the team allowing offensive trouble to affect its defense. That’s what happened last Tuesday in the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The most important thing Joerger wants from the Kings on offense: “Limit the turnovers.”
Nothing special – Suns forward Marquese Chriss (Pleasant Grove High School) made his NBA debut Wednesday.
To me, it’s just another team I want to beat. At the end of the day, every team is a professional basketball team and you’re going to have to play them like it’s another team.
Marquese Chriss, Suns forward, on facing his hometown team in his NBA debut
In June, Chriss was part of the draft-day trade that allowed the Kings to obtain the rights to George Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere. Phoenix acquired the rights to Chriss, whom the Kings drafted eighth overall, for two picks and the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Kings plan to add Bogdanovic, who is playing in Turkey, next season.
Chriss said there was nothing special about facing his hometown team.
“To me, it’s just another team I want to beat,” he said. “At the end of the day, every team is a professional basketball team and you’re going to have to play them like it’s another team.”
Chriss added it wasn’t as if he was going against a team he rooted for passionately growing up.
“I didn’t have a favorite team,” he said. “I would go to games with my friends and family. I supported them, but I wouldn’t say I was a die-hard Kings fan.”
Rookie watch – Of the Kings’ three rookies, only guard Malachi Richardson was on the active roster Wednesday. Pagagiannis and Labissiere were on the inactive list.