Kings coach Michael Malone is realistic.
"We cannot continue to do what we're doing and expect to have the results we all want to start our season," he said on Wednesday.
Specifically, Malone is referring to the 21.3 turnovers per game the Kings are averaging through six preseason games.
Those giveaways have resulted in 18 points per night for the opposition, and a 2-4 Sacramento record.
Notwithstanding the blunders, Sacramento ranks well in several NBA exhibition season offensive statistical categories -- 10th in scoring, fourth in field goal percentage and seventh in three-point field goal percentage.
It’s been said there are three groups of people: The first group sees the glass as half full. The second sees the glass as half empty. The third doesn’t see the glass. (That’s my group.)
Malone for now is an optimist firmly in the first group and employed a wrinkle in Wednesday’s practice. He had the team run after every fifth turnover as a reminder to value the basketball.
“Imagine how good we'd be offensively if we actually valued the basketball," Malone said. "The thing that gives me hope is, as I told the players today when you have all the offensive capabilities that we have -the scoring, the field goal percentage, the three point shooting, all the things that we're doing well, our offense could be so much better just cutting our turnovers in half.
“We had a great practice today. It was chippy, it was emotional but I'm OK with that. If we can practice like the way we did today things will be OK."
When asked which was of primary concern at this juncture of the exhibition season -- turnovers or defense -- the coach said the former.
However, turnovers are not an island especially for teams with defensive woes. Sacramento was 24th in the NBA last season, and sans the win over Maccabi Haifa, is allowing 107 points per game vs. NBA opponents in the exhibition season.
Good offense begets good defense primarily because there are fewer "breakout" turnovers that lead to easy points for the opposition.
Therefore, taking care of the ball is not a luxury, it's a necessity for Sacramento to truly embrace defense as part of the team's culture.
If that's not enough motivation perhaps the running at practice is.
Malone also shared where he’d like to take the Sacramento squad.
“We have to play a 48 minute game," he said. "Right now we're just a spurt team. We look good in spurts. Good teams are able play as close to 48 minutes as possible -of defending of rebounding of valuing and sharing the ball and running with discipline.”
Keenly aware that the regular season is approaching with Golden State visiting on Wednesday night, Malone added, “I'm optimistic obviously. We're going to approach this last preseason game (vs. Lakers in Las Vegas on Friday) like it's a regular season game.”
Malone can only hope for a sustained high level of play from DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Darren Collison, Ramon Sessions, Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, etc. in the regular season, which has proven elusive in the preseason.
If the fleeting flashes of scintillating play are the exception rather than the norm, it could be another frustrating season for the Kings.