The Kings' new coach says playing time will be based on defensive performance.
By Sam Amick - Bee Staff Writer
Last October, tough talk of improving defensively was nearing an all-time high in Kings land.
The defensive-minded coach, Eric Musselman, touted a message of commitment and change, and his players vowed to turn to protect their turf as never before.
But by season's end, the words far outweighed the wins, and the Kings had regressed badly - falling from 21st in points allowed in 2005-06 under Rick Adelman to a near-last 26th in the NBA under Musselman.
The plan, if not the former coach, remains.
First-year coach Reggie Theus has pegged defense and rebounding as the foremost problem areas of his new squad. But in an early sign that perhaps there will be more follow-through this time, Theus made it clear that playing time will be dictated largely by defensive performance for both youngsters and veterans.
He envisions a return to the stifling Ron Artest of old on defense, says an in-shape Brad Miller can contribute more in the paint and is challenging fourth-year shooting guard Kevin Martin to make the most of his "potential to be a very good defensive player."
Even point guard Mike Bibby, so often maligned for his defense, will need to earn his time partially on the defensive end.
"There are two areas we have to get better in to be successful -- defense and rebounding," said Theus, who inherits a team that was 29th in rebounding differential (negative 4.4). "If we're better defensively, then we will rebound better because those things go hand in hand. And defense starts with your point guard.
"Mike Bibby will decide how many minutes he's going to play -- whether he plays 20-plus minutes or 30-plus minutes. That's on him, and a lot of that is going to be his defense. Whether Mike is a great defensive player or not, he's got to be willing to put it out there."
With training camp starting Oct. 2, defense ultimately could decide the competition at backup point guard, as well. On defensive repute alone, Orien Greene could have the early edge. Greene's defensive skills, Theus said, were part of the reason Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie signed Greene on Aug. 31. He was the second point guard added during the offseason, as undrafted rookie Mustafa Shakur (Arizona) was signed after his showing with the Kings in the Las Vegas summer league.
"I talked to Geoff about an energy guy, somebody we need defensively to be able to pick up halfcourt, fullcourt, quarter-court and put pressure on the point guard," Theus said.
But neither Greene nor Shakur has the security of second-year guard Quincy Douby, who is being groomed to play both guard positions and has two guaranteed seasons remaining ($1.3 million in 2007-08 and $1.4 million in 2008-09). Shakur's deal comes with $20,000 secured, while Greene is guaranteed $100,000.
"I think they all bring different things to the table," Theus said. "I know Quincy is going to work his butt off. He's been in the gym, working hard, and has a can-do attitude, as far as what we want.
"Orien is bigger, stronger, has good hands and defensive posture. Mustafa is a very good defensive player who can get to the basket. I think they all have to continue to work on their shot, but we'll be in search of a guy who's capable of running the team when Mike's not out on the floor."
A good start -- League rules prevent Theus from demanding that players attend offseason workouts.
But when he suggested to many players that the Kings' practice facility was as good a place as any to work out individually, he was thrilled with the response. Many players typically work out in locations across the country before training camp.
"We've had everybody in except Kenny (Thomas) and John (Salmons), and they've been coming in consistently," Theus said. "I think that builds immediate camaraderie that's necessary. "
WTF Kenny???? hmmm i dnt even wanna comment on that note
I really hope this loser gets the flick from this team. Everyone is in the gym, He and Salmons are not there...If i know Salmons well he is working somewhere else. But for sure I know Kenny is goofing off doing ass
Last edited by Perezident : 09-16-2007 at 08:52 PM.
I like that idea. An "in shape" miller at the 4 could be good next to a shot blocker like Moore or Williams. Lots of height in that lineup. It gives us a nice mix up down low: an athletic finisher and a face up shooter.
But KT would be ahead of SAR in depth charts, because SAR's knees are being operated on (or have they already beed?). Hawes might get those minutes.
i have seen him back here in Albuquerque a couple times at the gym(s) and i guess my mom's friend from work has seen him too...i REALLY hope this means he wont get a lot of playing time this year - what's left on his contract btw?