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January 15, 2012
Smart trying to change the Kings' habits on offense

MINNEAPOLIS - Keith Smart has a drill where players dribble to a spot and have to make a choice.

Depending on where the defender comes from, the player has to decide where to pass the ball.

Needless to say watching the Kings play on offense, it's a drill that's needed as Smart tries to change how the Kings play.

"You've got to get them to see things you set up in a practice and you run it over and over again," Smart said before yesterday's loss at Dallas. "So as soon as I see you standing in front of me I know I must pass the ball. There's no second guessing, I must pass the ball. And then you miss it three times you say 'Hey, you've got to come over here and see me.'"

Ideally Smart would spend a lot of time doing this in practice. But as we know, there isn't much time for practice these days.

The drill does reinforce something the Kings need to impove, their court sense or lack thereof.

"We've got to get our vision," Smart said. "That's something that we haven't had. I'm used to guys seeing the whole floor. A guy's open, they find him. I'm finding out now and trying correct is that we get a tunnel and we see straight to the basket and not seeing with the peripheral vision."

The Kings rank last in the NBA at 14.15 assists per game, which has actually improved. Some of that is because the Kings don't make a lot of shots (they rank last in the NBA, shooting 39.3 percent).

The Kings also miss chances for easier shots by missing open teammates.

Then there's the ever-present problem that happens when the four Kings on the floor stop and stare at whoever has the ball.

Smart is trying to break all of these habits. Smart said the team is making progress but acknowledges there is a lot of work to do.

"We have a lot of isolation players," Smart said. "Guys that have been conducive to getting the ball and standing around make a play for themselves. I'm trying to get them to still have that ability but yet don't do it unless you see the check offs first.

"We a ran the play in Toronto seven times and we only scored out of it once because Tyreke (Evans) finally took his time. You've got to let all the other action happen first. And then when that's gone then you make a play."

Evans will be an important part of making sure the changes happens. Smart is challenging Evans to improve his decision making.

"I'll step back from a play I'm going to call and wait and ask 'You have something?'" Smart said. "Just to see if it registers what he wants to run and then he'll make a call and that's what I want him to start doing."

It will be interesting to see how long before Smart starts to see more of the results he wants.



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