Now that NBA preseason action is in full swing, there are a few things I want to encourage Sacramento Kings fan to remember before we get to meaningful basketball.
First, it’s preseason. Let’s all try to keep that in mind. These games are NOT about winning or losing. It’s about figuring out the nuisances of your team and individual players.
We all know what DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo and every other veteran player is about. They play limited minutes for a reason. You play them enough to develop some flow and chemistry with each other and protect them from senseless injuries.
That’s where rookies and young players come in. No matter what your hopes may be, most young guys are expected to get limited run in the regular season. You get them time on the court and much needed burn to not only get a chance to see what they may eventually be capable of but to start the process of development.
Yes I said it. The dreaded D word. Development.
Kings fans are used to this word because they’ve been about developing players for years. That’s what being in the lottery the last decade means. You get projects. Some of them pay off and some of them don’t.
One of the interesting things is about newly named head coach Dave Joerger is the fact that his time in the NBA as a head coach was with a team that has been to the playoffs year after year. They had a solid core and filled in with veterans and a rookie here and there.
Coach Joerger didn’t have to do a lot of development in Memphis. Now he and his staff are faced with “developing” four rookies in Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis and Isaiah Cousins. Preseason games play a large part in that process.
Lastly, let’s talk about defense. Yes defense. That “thing” we haven’t seen much of for the last two seasons. We’re going to hear a lot about defense this year and we should. The Kings had no problem scoring last year but couldn’t stop anybody. And I mean anybody. It’s a wonder they won 33 games last season in spite of that fact.
Now it’s time to state maybe the most obvious thing of all. Don’t expect the defense to look all that different, or be as productive as we hope, early in the season.
I guarantee one thing: the defense will be better this season. Much better because, lets face it, it cannot be worse than last year.
And even more obvious, it will be a better product in March and April than in November and December. It’s a process and I do believe this team has the personnel to get the job done sufficiently.
So, everyone breathe. Relax. Take a yoga class. Whatever it takes. Curb your expectations. I don’t know about you all but if we can say in April this team played hard, played together, made huge strides on the defensive end I will definitely consider this a successful season without a doubt.
But now I ask you….
What will it take for you as a Kings fan to consider 2016-17 a successful season?