Kings Blog and Q&A

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

January 8, 2012
Smart: Kings should stay aggressive against Magic, Howard

The Kings have been one of the league's most active teams in getting to the free-throw line. Coach Keith Smart said they ought to stay aggressive today against an Orlando Magic team anchored in the middle by Dwight Howard.

"We can't think of attacking the rim to attack Howard," Smart said. "We have to attack the rim with the idea that we're going to force their defense to move, knowing that he's going to be lurking around somewhere.

"He's going to be there but if we attack and be aggressive that puts pressure on the defense, and if we can do that then our guys will have some good shots."

Just as important is taking advantage of those open looks. Part of the reason the Kings are near or at the bottom of the league in shooting percentage and assists, Smart said, is players are not making open shots.

* Today's game brings Magic forward and former Oak Ridge High standout Ryan Anderson back to the Sacramento area. Anderson is the Magic's second-leading scorer through eight games this season behind Howard, averaging 17.9 points per game.

"I think he has the know-how that this is his position," Smart said. "The last couple years he's kind of been in the lineup, out of the lineup, not sure, couldn't get a rhythm. Now he's a legitimate starter.

"Sometimes when you play with great players you have a tendency to defer a lot, and I think now he's in that stage of his career with that team to not defer," Smart said. "Now it's, if I'm open I shoot it, if I'm not I move it."

Anderson hasn't been shy about hoisting three-pointers this year. He leads the NBA with 62 attempts and is 26-of-62 from beyond the arc, making 41.9 percent.

* It sounds like J.J. Hickson will start at power forward for the Kings, but Smart didn't make anything official before the starting lineups are announced. Smart said he already has a good idea of how he will rotate players.

* Smart on introducing the players Saturday to the kind of training he thinks it will take to build the Kings into a running team: "I gave a little taste of that yesterday of how we needed to play, and the taste was not a well-tasted taste. But it's a process."

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