Kings Blog and Q&A

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

January 7, 2012
Saturday practice: Smart implementing offense

Kings coach Keith Smart addresses the media following Saturday's practice.

As he begins to install his offensive and defensive schemes eight games into a shortened season, Kings coach Keith Smart said today he introduced "concepts" to players in practice but plans to keep things simple during games for the time being.

"As I told them, I'm giving you a lot of things today just to give you a concept of it, but I won't have you confused in a game," Smart said after practice. "I'll keep it very simple in the games for you to play with your freedom and space."

One aspect that players are finding immediately apparent is a faster tempo.

"We're running," said guard Marcus Thornton. "We're running and getting the ball to open guys. We're just playing. The main thing (Smart) preached today was freedom. Don't get too crazy with it, but we have freedom to do our thing and have fun with it."

Smart has said he believes the Kings can and should run more, but said players have work to do in terms of getting into the necessary shape. Ideally, he said, that will come with building habits in practice and games.

Smart offered this on the Kings' potential:

"I want to bring a fast-paced game, but the added luxury is that we have some big guys that we can develop into really good post players or elbow players," Smart said. "They can rebound, so that's a luxury of having a team that can run, and (the bigs) can run.

"This is heaven if it all comes together, and the other place if it doesn't. The focus is on getting them there. They seem like they want to get there and play at that pace, but they aren't in the kind of shape that's necessary to play as a running team right now. But we'll get there."

Smart talks about his coaching style and other topics.

* Smart said it will likely be either J.J. Hickson or Jason Thompson starting at power forward in the absence of Chuck Hayes against the Orlando Magic tomorrow, but didn't officially name a starter. He did say that because Thompson will be asked to back up DeMarcus Cousins at center, Smart might be less inclined to start Thompson at power forward to ensure that Thompson and Cousins don't both get into early foul trouble.

"I will make a decision depending on the matchup," Smart said. "I think I'm going to utilize Thompson and Hickson, and look at the game that night and match up with (the opponent) and see which one I want to go with."

* Donte Greene is expected to be back with the Kings tomorrow. Greene returned to Baltimore before the Kings' win over Milwaukee on Thursday to be with family following the death of his grandmother. He was not at practice today.

-- Matt Kawahara

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