As the Kings began a six-game homestand Wednesday, coach Tyrone Corbin said his team has become lax on defense.
Since taking over for Michael Malone, Corbin has wanted to implement more changes on offense. But he’ll also have to address the issues on defense during practice.
Entering Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City, the Kings were 3-7 under Corbin, who wants to emphasize the basics even more.
“It slowed us down a little bit,” Corbin said of the struggles. “We haven’t had the success we were looking to have. Guys are out there thinking too much. We don’t want to lose our confidence in what we’re trying to do here.”
The homestand won’t be easy. Four playoff teams from last season visit Sleep Train Arena. But one of them is Miami, which no longer has LeBron James. Now back with Cleveland, which missed the playoffs last season, James is nursing an ailing back and knee and likely won’t play when the Cavaliers visit Sleep Train on Sunday.
The Kings entered Wednesday having lost 15 of their last 20 games, 11 of them without center DeMarcus Cousins.
Corbin said with all distractions that come with a coaching change, he understands the players need some time to get readjusted.
“The guys have been through a lot, but it’s time to move on,” Corbin said. “We have a lot of games here coming up at home. The opponent is not going to feel sorry for us, so we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
Trade flurry – The Kings’ first three opponents in the homestand have been involved in major trades this week that are expected to have an impact on the playoff race.
The Thunder acquired guard Dion Waiters from Cleveland on Monday. Waiters made his Oklahoma City debut with 9:52 left in the second quarter.
Friday, the Kings face Denver, which sent center Timofey Mozgov to Cleveland for two first-round draft picks Wednesday. The Cavaliers hope Mozgov will fill their void at center after losing Anderson Varejao to a season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon.
Cleveland’s trade of Waiters was part of a three-team deal in which New York sent swingman J.R. Smith and guard Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers.
Waiters said he was pleased to join the Thunder.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t a bad organization or something like that, a team not playing for the playoffs,” Waiters said. “I come here, and I still get a chance to play for the playoffs and help this team win.”
Et cetera – There was a moment of silence for ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who died Sunday morning from complications related to cancer.
▪ Forward Omri Casspi missed his third consecutive game because of a left knee bone contusion. The injury has cost Casspi seven games since Dec. 11.
▪ Guard Ramon Sessions missed his seventh consecutive game because of a low back strain.
▪ Forward Eric Moreland, who is out for the season after shoulder surgery Saturday, was on the bench with his left arm in a sling.