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Kings notes: Young players face longer wait for extended minutes

Kings' offense and defense stumble late in loss at Chicago

Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl's postgame interview about the teams breakdown on offense and defense late in the game, allowing Chicago to steal the win at the United Center in Chicago.
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Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl's postgame interview about the teams breakdown on offense and defense late in the game, allowing Chicago to steal the win at the United Center in Chicago.

Young players Seth Curry and Willie Cauley-Stein were supposed to get more minutes as the Kings’ season wound down. That hasn’t been the case.

Curry is buried behind veterans on the depth chart. Cauley-Stein missed two games because of the flu before returning Monday night against the Chicago Bulls at United Center.

Coach George Karl does not want to use 11 or 12 players in his rotation. He would have to sit a veteran to create minutes for the young players, and he said that could happen, but not in the immediate future.

“I’m sure it’s in the discussion,” Karl said. “It’s probably an April discussion. Maybe back off this road trip and then we go out again real quick.”

The Kings have seven games in April.

Cauley-Stein was the first big man off the bench Monday, so it’s not a matter of whether he’ll play but how much.

I’m sure it’s in the discussion. It’s probably an April discussion. Maybe back off this road trip and then we go out again real quick.

Kings coach George Karl, on getting young players Seth Curry and Willie Cauley-Stein more minutes

Curry’s situation is complex. Karl is sticking with Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison as his point guards, and they often play together, cutting into the minutes at shooting guard. Lately, the shooting guard minutes have gone to Marco Belinelli or, when Karl wants a defender, James Anderson. Ben McLemore would be in the mix, but he has been out for eight games because of a fractured right ring finger.

Curry did not play in Sunday’s win over the New York Knicks and played just four minutes in Friday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons. On Wednesday, when injuries left the Kings with only three healthy guards, he played 34 minutes in a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

On Monday, Karl started the 6-foot-6 Anderson at shooting guard against 6-7 Jimmy Butler. Lately, Karl has started Anderson against bigger guards and gone with the 6-foot Collison when the opposing shooting guard isn’t as tall.

Karl also stayed with Quincy Acy at power forward rather than Cauley-Stein to oppose Taj Gibson.

Comparing greatness – Karl coached the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 Finals against the champion Chicago Bulls, who set the record for regular-season wins with 72.

Karl was asked to compare that Chicago team to the Golden State Warriors, who are on pace to break that record.

“That Bulls team, in my mind, was an incredibly tough defensive basketball team,” he said. “They could explode offensively. They could score points on you. But when the game was in the nitty-gritty, it was almost impossible to score on them.

0 Minutes for Seth Curry in Sunday’s win over New York

“And Golden State, I think, is a good defensive basketball team. But their ability to explode (on offense) is like, I think I’ve used the term ‘video game.’ 

Karl said the Warriors can ratchet up their defensive intensity.

“Their defense may be better than good,” he said. “I just think they have a volume control on their defensive switch at times.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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