Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 28: Talking Keith Smart with Golden State Warriors beat writer Rusty Simmons

by Jonathan Santiago and James Ham

Before arriving in Sacramento, Keith Smart spent eight seasons in the bay area with the Golden State Warriors.  Rusty Simmons covers the Warriors for the San Francisco Chronicle and joins us on this week’s Cowbell Kingdom Podcast to shed some light on the personality of the Kings head coach.

Highlights

  • On Smart’s energy.  Is the Kings head coach always enthusiastic – even when times get tough?  “He is.  He was that was way as an assistant coach and then last year as head coach.  You know the Warriors had their struggles, they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs pretty early on, but the team kept playing hard and I think that is because of Keith Smart, because he was still working hard – and they followed their leader.”
  • On Smart’s transition from assistant to head coach and how he handled and developed Monta Ellis:  “For so long, he had been a friend and a confidant and then he had to be the guy who assigned his minutes and told him he had to practice and told him he had to show up to shoot-around.  He made the transition better than I thought he would.  And I think because Coach Smart had been so good to Monta for so many years, there was never really a problem.  He played hard for him.  He did what he said.  He’s not a natural leader – Monta – but he tried to do that because that’s what coach was asking him to do.”
  • Comparisons have been made between Jimmer Fredette and Warriors guard Stephen Curry.  Does Smart’s experience coaching Curry make him the right guy for Jimmer?  “Coach Smart was a combo guard in college who was asked to try to be a point guard in the NBA.  He knows what that like to try to make that adjustment.  And Stephen Curry says today that he’s a better player because of Coach Smart.  They had their ups and downs; Coach Smart would yank him when he made turnovers (and) there might be some growing pains with Jimmer, but I think Coach Smart is the right guy to work with him and to figure out what he can be in the league.”

Listen after the jump…


Music Credit: Ronald Jenkees – Guitar Sound

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About: Cowbell Kingdom Podcast

The Cowbell Kingdom Podcast brings commentary, analysis and interviews focused on Sacramento Kings and NBA discussion. Tune in every Friday for a new episode.