The Kings want to be a good defensive team.
Keith Smart said after Monday night's preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers that remains the focus:
"That's what we have been preaching, that's how we built our training camp. Everything we have built, we have tried to create that environment. I just think that when you are talented and you have the ability to be offensive-minded, you can make up ground, and some of our guys are doing that now. I felt that we had to have the right stuff defensively, to make sure everyone, from me, my players, the staff, were all on the same page to know exactly what we wanted to do. We keep continuing to grow that, and hopefully by January we can be a good defensive team. The stuff we have been making now shows we are moving in the right direction, in that fashion."
Portland shot 40 percent against the Kings. Phoenix shot 41.4 percent last Wednesday against the Kings.
Not a bad preseason start for the worst defensive team in the NBA in 2011-12.
Overall, the Kings are more engaged on defense. The guards are pressuring ballhandlers. Tyreke Evan looks like he wants to be an elite defender and DeMarcus Cousins is more active. It also helps to have Chuck Hayes looking more like the player he was in Houston.
But some new additions help a lot.
Jame Johnson has been all he said he would be to start his time with the Kings. The team believes Aaron Brooks' ability to pressure the ball will help in the long run. And rookie Thomas Robinson's infectious energy on the court should help.
It look good now, but let's see where the Kings are in January.