Kings Blog and Q&A

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

November 28, 2010
Looking for leadership; Landry to the bench?

Leadership comes in many forms. The Kings are still looking for someone to emerge as a leader, someone that can calm the team on the court and get things organized.

Francisco Garcia has done this in the past. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Garcia missed the last two games due to illness and the Kings have fallen apart in the second half of each game.

Beno Udrih has filled the role at times, too. Garcia and Udrih are the two players Tyreke Evans usually names as leaders on the team.

But it would help if a "leader" were someone that would be almost certain to be on the court in late-game situations. Udrih's role has changed with Luther Head's emergence. Garcia is one of three possibilities at small forward late in games.

One thing is certain - don't expect Evans to change his personality to make the Kings "his" team.

Evans admits he's not the leader the Kings need at this stage of his career.

"I don't think I'm there yet," Evans said. "I'm not too much into talking and cursing teammates out pointing the finger at somebody. I'd rather tell them in the locker room or just show them and lead by example on the court."

Carl Landry sees the leadership void, but he's cautious to step into it.

He's been a Kings for 43 games, not exactly long enough to assert his opinion in the locker room or on the court.

But Landry is likely to be on the court in crucial situations. Paul Westphal is a huge fan of Landry's game and likes to use him in the fourth quarter.

Landry was careful not to say too much last season even though he was clearly one of the top-2 options in the offense. But he also said he with an entire coaching staff already correcting players, he doesn't see the need to chime in during games. It's something he didn't like as a young player in Houston.

But Landry acknowledged someone might need to speak up more on the court, maybe even himself.

"There might come a time where I might have to be a more vocal leader on the court," Landry said. "Not necessarily saying I've got to have the ball but just being more vocal."

The sooner someone fills the role, the better for the Kings.

*The Kings probably would have had today off if not for their loss to Chicago.

A review of the film showed the Kings didn't respond to the aggressive defense played by Chicago.

"You have to answer their aggressiveness with some finesse and we answered it with frustration and we stopped moving," Westphal said. "We stopped going backdoor, setting screens and we bogged down. It's something that is obvious but we have to face head on."

Westphal said there's no reason for the Kings not to know to do against pressure and how to make defenses pay.

The Kings might not run the Princeton offense, but they do have the man that made it a staple in basketball lingo.

"When a team overpressures you, Pete Carril in the Hall of Fame because he taught guys how to go backdoor when that happens," Westphal said. "And we've got a resource on our staff and it's not like we haven't taught that. We're not living it enough yet. I'm not trying to point the finger at the players and say these guys are hopeless because they aren't but that's the next step."

After today's practice, Carril and assistant coach Otis Hughley worked with Evans, Landry and Pooh Jeter on some offensive principles.

It's something Carril does often with various players, from the guards to the bigs.

*Westphal also addressed the perception that all the problems with the offense start and end with Evans.

Evans is getting heat for not passing enough and dribbling too long. Add to that he doesn't push the tempo enough and dribbles into defenders and picks up too many fouls.

I'm sure I've missed some things that Evans has done wrong.

Here's what Westphal said:

"One thing that the film was real clear on is our offensive bogging down is not pointed directly at Tyreke all the time. There were a lot of players that broke down offensively and his are a little bit more out there and it's easy to put a target on his back and say 'See where he messed up on that play where he charged that guy.' Certainly he needs to jump stop better and not run somebody over after a pass. But his mistakes are no worse than some of the mistakes other players are making who don't know the offense or are turning down open shots or taking ill-advised quick shots or not setting a good screen. It all goes hand-in-hand. And because he has the ball in his hands and if nobody breaks open and he tries to make a play and charges somebody that does make it a good play but it doesn't mean it was the only bad play that happened. We're trying to correct all of that."

*Westphal said he liked how Jason Thompson looked in the starting lineup and didn't rule out bringing Landry off the bench in the future.

Westphal said he hadn't spoken with either players so he didn't want to go into too much detail about the situation.

Thompson started against the Bulls after Landry overslept and missed shootaround.

"It's tough knowing my team counts me as a leader," Landry said. "For me to oversleep, that's not a good a look at all."

Landry said he's fine with starting or coming off the bench.

Landry missed a practice last week with a sore back, too. He said his back is still sore, but it's getting better.

Garcia didn't finish practice after feeling dizzy. He's been sick since the Thanksgiving game.

--Jason Jones

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