Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart preaches patience

Keith Smart roams the sidelines during the Sacramento Kings win over the Golden State Warriors in the 2012 home opener. (Photo: Steven Chea)

After an 0-3 start to the 2012-13 season, Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart has one word for those out there ready to hit the panic button.


“It’s so early right now,” Smart told the media scrum before Monday’s win against the Golden State Warriors. “I think you have to look at it and see (we’re) putting the pieces together. You’re trying to see what they can do. If you start throwing up the flags and all of that based on what you see right now?”

Smart understands the disappointment surrounding the Kings’ slow start to the season, but he sees a silver lining in the losses. It is his job to look for patterns, collect data and point to what is working and what is not. What Smart is loving is the effort his team is giving on the defensive end.

“Offense is just making shots,” Smart said. “Defense is a collective team effort and I like what our team defense is doing.”

Smart has a point. The Kings offense was an afterthought coming into this season. The coaching staff made a point to emphasize defense with the thought that they had plenty of weapons on the other side of the ball.

Unfortunately, that is not how the first handful of games have played out and according to DeMarcus Cousins, while the coaching staff is preaching patience with the rotation, they have already recognized the offensive issues and made changes.

“We kind of switched back to the old offense, which helped us out a lot tonight because we were struggling in our new offense,” Cousins said from his locker room stall following the victory over the Warriors. “Not to say it didn’t work, but it just didn’t really fit us as a team. Coach made a great adjustment and it showed.”

The old offense was good enough last season to be ranked sixth in the NBA and that was without Aaron Brooks, Thomas Robinson and James Johnson.

While the Kings sit now at 2-3 following a two-point win over Detroit, Smart believes that if given time, the lineups he has shown so far will yield long-term success.

“Sometimes you may be in a great position now, but the wheels fall off,” Smart said.  “We want this thing to keep rolling to where it’s a great position we’re in.  Everything is coming together for our basketball team and we keep building on what our strengths are.”

Through five games, the Kings are a work in progress, but coach Smart is right, patience is in order. The Kings have plenty of new faces playing rotational minutes and they have been competitive in every contest.

“We’re still in a good position, but we’re not in the position that everyone thought we should be in or would have liked to be in right now,” Smart said honestly. “But we want to be in a great position later rather than now.”

Kings fans have waited a long time for a winning ball club. They would prefer to have both a winner now and later, but I think they are willing to give Smart a little time to turn this thing around.


James Ham

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