Kings Blog

George Karl says strategic shift might favor up-tempo game

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts after foul against the Utah Jazz in the first half at Sleep Train Arena on Sunday April 5, 2015 in Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts after foul against the Utah Jazz in the first half at Sleep Train Arena on Sunday April 5, 2015 in Sacramento, Calif. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Is the NBA becoming more about speed than size?

Kings coach George Karl, known for using unconventional lineups, has participated in the debate for some time.

“There’s always been a conflict of which is better for 50 years of basketball,” Karl said Sunday. “And most people thought that size was more important than speed. Today’s game, speed might be more important.”

Playing small has become more popular in recent seasons. Teams have paired four smaller players with a center or even gone with five smaller players including a perimeter-oriented player at center.

But small ball is something Karl and Hall of Fame coach Don Nelson did decades ago. Karl, then coaching the Golden State Warriors, recalled a game against Nelson’s Milwaukee Bucks.

“My favorite story of going small is coaching against Don Nelson when I was 34 years old,” said Karl, 63. “And every time he put a small guy in the lineup, I put a smaller guy in the lineup. We ended up with eight guys under 6-4 on the court.”

Technical difficulties – Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was called for a technical foul with 2:47 left in the first quarter Sunday against the Utah Jazz. It was his 14th of the season.

A 16th technical foul results in an automatic one-game suspension unless it comes in the last game of the season. In that case, the suspension would not carry over into the following season.

Since entering the NBA in 2010, Cousins had been among the league leaders in technicals. But this season, his goal was five or fewer, and he put a sign in his locker reading “5 TECHNICAL” to declare his intention to keep his emotions in check..

Cousins had one technical foul through Nov. 15, but the technicals piled up as the Kings headed toward another losing season. Since the All-Star break, when Karl took over as coach, Cousins has eight technicals.

Nik’s night – The Kings held a “Sauce Castillo” promotion night, playing off rookie guard Nik Stauskas’ new nickname.

The name surfaced last month when a closed-captioning error turned Stauskas’ name into Sauce Castillo.

The team sold Sauce Castillo T-shirts, and fans received commemorative bottles of hot sauce.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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