Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

October 2, 2007
Can you hear me now?

The Esquire Grill downtown has become the place to be for all things Kings these days. First, Kevin Martin celebrates his five-year extension with a press conference at the eatery. Then Monday night, Reggie Theus gathered his squad together for a team dinner that - unfortunately - wasn't filmed for public consumption.
As I report in today's paper, Theus' season-starting message included a notice that a road curfew would be in order. What's more, no cell phones are to be used on the team bus. And what I would've given to see the looks on some players' faces when that news came down.
But while some guys may not like it (and for the record, no players publicly expressed anything but support for the idea) here's the thing: I'm on board. Given the current climate, the backdrop of a 33-win campaign and the fact that there is so much at stake both individually and collectively for this bunch, why not start things off with a little order in the house after what was a chaotic last season on and off the court?
Without even delving into the reality that the NBA's awful run of negative PR makes this a good time to pull such a move, Kings wins would go a long way toward helping the waning fan support in terms of tickets (yes, the sellout streak that dates to Nov. 23, 1999 is in jeopardy) and arena support. Even if this Cal Expo plan transpires and no public money is needed, this current lull in the purple passion is one the Kings could do without and the fans - judging by the early returns on our poll - seem to like the idea that their team is taking things seriously.
Several Kings players are badly in need of a resurgence in their respective careers, Kings hoops prez Geoff Petrie doesn't want to be affiliated with a losing squad for too much longer, and Theus is looking to show his coaching merits with this bold move.
Truth be told, Theus paid no attention to how bold it was. He was following his instinct and looking to ease his mind of some of the worry that can come with distractions on the road. Will it prompt some folks in the league to accuse him of using college tactics (a la New Mexico State) on pros? Absolutely. But the inspiration seems to be all NBA, a la Jerry Sloan (whose coaching career began in Chicago with Theus as his star).
From Theus' declarations that status or years served won't dictate playing time to his early talk of defense and this latest tactic, the similarities in style are many. And even apart from that connection, a coach who is new to this level must have some freedom to run the ship the way he'd like to. Sink or sail.
Maybe it doesn't hold up, gets vetoed by the player's association, rethought by Theus or even sparks mutiny in the locker room. Maybe it sticks, has the desired effect and - chances are - gets lifted once Theus feels he can trust his new squad. But it's tough to argue with the meaning behind the message.
The Kings went 13-28 on the road last season, tied for the fifth worst road record in the league. Maybe this isn't such a bad idea. - Sam Amick

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