Kings coach Michael Malone said practice Monday was “OK” and shared his concern as Sacramento prepares for the season opener, hosting the Golden State Warriors and their potent offense on Wednesday night.
“My worry is our guys’ sense of urgency," Malone said "We play very hard. We compete. We bring forth the effort, but the execution and the discipline and the play with a purpose has to be a lot better.”
While it’s tempting to dismiss Malone’s comments as typical coach speak as training camp drags on, there is a solid foundation for the coach’s angst.
Golden State beat Sacramento four times last season with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry shooting 56 percent and 52 percent from three point range, respectively, versus the Kings.
“Those guys ... literally destroyed us last season," Malone said.
The Kings were next-to-last in the NBA defending the 3-point line on a percentage basis last season and were 23rd in the preseason. So the “Splash Brothers” present a significant early test to start the 2014-15 campaign.
Conversely on offense, Sacramento’s numbers on the exhibition season look good. They're second in field-goal percentage, third in 3-point percentage, and 10th in scoring.
Undermining the offense, though, has been the propensity to turn the ball over. The Kings averaged just under 20 giveaways per game this preseason.
It can be expected, to some extent, with 13 new players in Sacramento’s training camp this year. But the Kings turned in a 20-assist, 11-turnover effort in their 93-92 win over the Lakers in Las Vegas on Friday night.
"Glad we ended the right way," Malone said.
However, Malone was quick to add that the offense is a “work in progress."
"And I can only hope we don’t throw the ball all over the place on Wednesday night and hit the popcorn lady in the third row in her face.”
For all of Sacramento’s fans -- undoubtedly including the popcorn lady -- they’re hoping the Kings heed their coach’s advice and bring a sense of urgency to the arena on Wednesday night.