Despite the victory, Jimmer Fredette’s first career “Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision” caused a bit of a stir among fans following last night’s contest against the Portland Trailblazers. With the full roster now available for the first time since becoming Sacramento Kings head coach, I asked Keith Smart about his rotation moving forward at practice today. Hopefully, his answers clear up any outrage from those appalled by his decision to sit the rookie point guard (keyword – hopefully).
More notes and quotes from practice after the jump.
Smart used Friday’s practice to show film and reinforce positives he saw from last night’s victory. From the veterans to the rookies, he was particularly happy with everyone’s communication on defense.
“I just thought overall, it was a very good output from our team, and the defense really won the game for us. And it allowed us to get into the open court and make plays in the open court.”
Smart on John Salmons’ breakout game on Thursday:
“That was great because I see the guy every day, after practice working on his game. And I would have concern about him if he wasn’t playing defense. But he was still doing some positive things defensively and you saw him working every day after practice on his shots – the shots that he takes in the game, the moves that he’ll make in the game. So you knew at some point, the game was going to come out. Now hopefully this is a game for him where his confidence…carry over to another four or five games. But right now, last night was great for him. And the team was happy for him that he played the way that we had envisioned he was going to play with this team.”
Following their first win-streak of the season, the Kings proceeded to lose five straight. Smart isn’t concerned about complacency settling in following yesterday’s win.
“I don’t think we’ll have that problem because I’m not the way (and) our staff is not that way. So, we have a good handle on how to deal with the team to keep them understanding that it’s a one-win game. It’s a good win for us. A quality win against a very good basketball team and we gotta keep it at just that.”
When the Kings were in Oakland Tuesday, Smart was greeted with hugs of appreciation from his former team. Today, he talked about how he built “strong relationships” in Golden State and how he’s trying to do the same in Sacramento.
“When I work with a player, I tell him that this is a friendship for life. Our careers are going to cross paths in the professional ranks for maybe ten years (or longer)…”
Jonathan Santiago is co-editor of Cowbell Kingdom. Follow him on Twitter.