One thing that has come up more than once in conversations with Kings players over the last couple of seasons is scouting reports - namely the players need to do a better job of studying them.
Good teams know the nuances of their opponents and the Kings have struggled with that
When I spoke to Chuck Hayes earlier in the season about the Houston Rockets' 22-game winning streak during the 2007-08 season, Hayes noted how everyone knew the opponent.
Guards knew tendencies of the opposing bigs. Houston's bigs knew what the opposing guards liked to do.
Last season Samuel Dalembert spoke of the need of the young Kings to prepare better and know the tendency of the opponents in the scouting reports.
The similarity between both players is that they are defensive-minded and that's an area the Kings need help the most.
The Kings allow the most points in the NBA (102.6 points per game). Opponents make 47.8 percent of their shots against the Kings, third highest in the league.
Many of those makes are easy looks, too. Teams shoot 30.4 percent on three pointers against the Kings, third lowest in the NBA.
After giving up 92 points in the paint Wednesday against Denver, cutting down on the easy baskets is a priority.
And so is the scouting report.
"We have to make a conscious effort to rebound the ball," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "And if we can't get to it, slap it out of there so it's not an easy putback. Then we have to make sure we keep the paint very compact and know the scouting report. Who are the guys we've said coming into this game that we're going to live with them making long jump shots and what guys do we know we have to get to fast. We've got to be on top of our scouting report and they're personnel to take care of that."
Hayes said after today's practice that the Kings need to do the little things better. I'm sure some of those little things are in the scouting report.
*It's hard for a team to shake a slump when most of the players on the team are in one.
That's been the case with the Kings on both ends of the court this season. Aside from their defensive struggles, the Kings are shooting a league-worst 39.6 percent.
"We can't have more than half our team not playing well from an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint," Smart said. "It's good that (Jimmer Fredette is) starting to come out his shell and play well. (DeMarcus) Cousins is playing well. Jason Thompson is playing very, very well. Tyreke (Evans) has had some ups and downs; trying to get him back consistent."
*Hayes wants to play Saturday at Utah after missing 11 games because of his dislocated left shoulder.
Smart said as soon as he receives clearance from the Kings medical staff, Hayes will play.