I got back from 49ers camp in time to catch the second half of the Kings-Pacers tonight on the tube, and was impressed with a few things. I love the way Keith Smart went to a zone defense in the fourth quarter and seemed to surprise the Pacers with his small lineup of Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins, Francisco Garcia and rookie Isaiah Thomas.
The Kings shoot 30 percent and win the game in the fourth? Effort, energy and adrenalin rushes remain constants in NBA victories.
Smart's intent is clear: He plans to transition Evans to small forward and find out long the Kings can go with Thomas at the point. He seems to envision Jimmer Fredette as more of a shooting guard - and when Fredette stops hesitating, he will be a much more effective player. He creates separation for his shot, but then becomes tentative, attempts a few dribbles (a chronic Kings ailment), and then takes a tougher shot. His handle (that left hand) needs some work, too, but he'll figure it out. This is where the lack of Summer League and a full training camp hurts.
So, as an aside, here is the essence of my conversation with KNBR host Tom Tolbert at 49ers camp earlier Wednesday: When I mentioned that the Kings were the worst passing team I have covered (either as a beat writer or columnist) in three-plus decades, he cracked, "No way. You have to pass the ball to be a bad passing team. They don't even pass the ball." Amen to that.