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The Kings are looking to establish a team identity in preseason

Mike Brown and multiple Kings players discussed the need for a team identity going into the new year.

Harrison Barnes is now entering his fifth season with the Sacramento Kings and has seen the inconsistent nature of the team’s offensive and defensive systems over that time. With a new coaching staff and new group of players Barnes isn’t focusing on previous seasons and the playoff drought right now though, he is viewing it from the perspective of this being another new team starting fresh.

With that comes a need to figure out who they are as a whole as priority one.

“We need to establish our identity as this group, in this year right now and that’s our focus. From day 1 being a team that competes, being a team that is going to get 50-50 basketballs, is going to rebound, is going to talk on defense, and then from there if we make shots great, but if not we have a base of who we are as opposed to in times past kind of relying on guys getting hot, hoping shots are falling, digging ourselves out of a hole and having some miraculous comeback to try to win games,” Barnes said.

The Kings have been trying to establish a positive identity ever since Dave Joerger’s high pace team in the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately, what Barnes described in terms of relying on shots falling has been the team’s identity ever since then, which isn’t a recipe for consistency. The players are well aware that an identity is something needed and that they are currently searching for.

“I think we’re still learning off each other. I think we’ve still got to get an identity,” said Davion Mitchell. “I think right now our identity [is] we’re kind of playing hard out there, but we’ve just got to clean some stuff up, stop turning the ball over and I think we’ll be a really good team.”

Cleaning stuff up comes with being fundamentally sound and mature in how they operate as a group on the floor. In correlation with this, new head coach Mike Brown explained what the ultimate goal is for him: “The pinnacle is when they’re able to basically coach themselves out on the floor. If something breaks down, right away they all know where the breakdown came from and because they are able to correct it amongst themselves and they’re talking our language, now you’re able to be Phil Jackson and sit with your legs crossed,” said Brown, whose coaching communication style was recently caught on camera during camp.

In November last year, Barnes said this after a loss to the Indiana Pacers: “Yes, we can call play calls and things like that, but against good teams, against playoff teams, you have to move the ball side to side, you have to just play out of random ball movement. It can't be scripted, and that's how we get our easy shots. So, I think for us, that's our next progression is when we're playing these teams like this who if we simply just call our plays and can do a good job of stopping those, what's the next step?"

So, Barnes has been calling for this level of maturity as a team for some time to be able to improvise and understand what to do on the floor as a unit. This naturally leads to the topic of discussion with everyone right now (and really for several seasons in a row): defense. Brown is known for defense and there has been a lot of talk about it in training camp. If the Kings have at least an average defense with the potential to get better, that will mean they have something to lean on when shots aren’t falling as Barnes described.

Mitchell admitted that the team wasn’t “big on being a defensive team last year.” He sees a difference this training camp though and also described the defensive rules Brown is implementing. This includes playing the gaps and “being big” in terms of having their hands out as much as possible. Domantas Sabonis also mentioned Brown’s rules and called them “pretty straightforward” and that he thinks they are going to help.

Adopting these rules, along with higher defensive effort, maybe the team can start to put a little more pressure on opposing offenses. Brown describes his plan a little here:

“I don’t care what system you put out there, if you compete, if you bring your hard hat and you’re passionate about it, if you do that, you’re going to at least have a chance to be an average defensive team,” Brown said. “So, now you buy into what the system is about and understand that it’s five guys guarding the basketball, not just one guy guarding the basketball, but five guys guarding the ball, now you buy into that, and you trust that all of your teammates have bought into it, now you have a pretty good defensive team.”

This will take buy-in from all of the players, including De’Aaron Fox, who has always had the tools to be a good defender. Fox has noticed the attention to defense in training camp so far.

“It’s been a lot of defense, a good amount of 5 on 0, obviously we’ve been competing and getting up and down the court a lot, but it’s been a lot of attention to detail, especially on the defensive end,” Fox said.

It is another season of new beginnings in Sacramento and with many of the players already in town for a month or more now, Fox said they have started to try to “find” themselves and “try to find that identity already.” Let’s hope that no matter how long it takes for this to happen, that it actually happens this season because this franchise has been lacking an identity for far too long now, and progress isn’t going to happen without it.

(Thanks to Brenden Nunes for all of the clips from training camp! Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we will be posting videos all season long.)

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HongKongKingsFan
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October 6, 2022 5:12 pm

Like Grant said, “Talk is cheap”…………

The starting group, especially Fox, need to do a consistent job in defense………
(maybe just not let some unknown guy to blow by ?)

Jack
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October 6, 2022 5:25 pm

There are some other things that tend to make me upset. One is the time Metu got clobbered by that big Val…….. and nobody , I mean nobody, came to his defense.Somebody should have gotten kicked out of the game and fined. A good punch in the mouth would tell me that they cared. You back up your players. In the marines you could count on the guy next to you. The Kings are a family.

TerzoM
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October 6, 2022 6:14 pm
Reply to  Jack

Also lots of smiles after losing, bunch of nice guys I guess.

Jack
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October 6, 2022 6:49 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

You don’t back me up. You think I’m going to back you up? No way. There goes the season.

CLticketBuyer
October 7, 2022 12:11 pm
Reply to  Jack

Perfect example of a soft team – another was Holmes getting bashed and nobody stepped up – it even pissed off his mother.

Gregoryl
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October 7, 2022 11:05 am

Agreed that we need to see it before I buy any of this talk. Disagree that Grant is the person you should have quoted here.

Marty
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October 6, 2022 8:55 pm

The franchise already has an identity

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Last edited 1 month ago by Marty Marty
Bluejohn
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October 6, 2022 9:30 pm
Reply to  Marty

And therein lies the problem. If this season’s Kings continue to adopt vivek’s losing ways all is lost. If they buy into Coach Brown’s systems there is hope and until I see differently I’m gonna believe that change and improvement is possible and that that possibly this season and onto seasons to come that the Kangz’s will become a memory. I still have hope.

andy_sims
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October 7, 2022 9:28 am
Reply to  Bluejohn

I’m kind of curious about what sort of Vivek’s philosophies that active basketball players might have adopted. Is the historical disinterest in defense attributable to Ranadive? Was the unwillingness to smash Valanciunas’ stupid face because of some dedication to non-violence imparted by the owner? Is Fox’s underperformance as a deep shooter caused by Vivek’s endless texts to Fox about taking it to the hoop?

I just can’t get there from here.

There have been serious problems with the coaches here since Adelman, with the exception of Dave Joerger. That is certainly on the owner. I have serious doubts as to whether the players make a conscious decision to “adopt Vivek’s losing ways” because they feel the owner could have made a better hiring decision.

Mike Brown has been hired, and he has a good track record in areas where the roster underperforms. If Sacramento’s season doesn’t meet even the most-realistic expectations, is that going to be because the players have adopted Ranadive’s alleged philosophical bent toward losing?

The roster is better, but given the state of the Western Conference, there are any number of scenarios where the Kings could play greatly-improved basketball, and still not make the play-in. Unless we’re going to pin Sacramento’s decades-long inability to land top free agents entirely on Vivek, how will we manage to blame it on the owner’s psychological impact on the players?

Marty
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October 7, 2022 1:52 pm
Reply to  Bluejohn

I keep it simple.

I look around and don’t see superstars so the franchise lacks relevancy.

JoeEnzyme
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October 7, 2022 7:38 pm
Reply to  Marty

How many superstars do you count in our league? If you count 30 then each team should have one, statistically. Of course a few teams have two or three, so then that makes the odds of the other teams having a superstar less than one per team. How many do you think the team has ever had? Webber, Richmond? Anyone else? The Big O of course, going way back.

Marty
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October 8, 2022 7:32 pm
Reply to  JoeEnzyme

About as many as there are playoff teams.

How many superstars do you count in our league?

catterj
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October 7, 2022 8:15 am

Thank you Blake for linking all these videos from The Kings Herald YouTube channel. They seem to be a lot longer than the clips I usually see on Twitter. I’m definitely turning the bell on for TKH’s YT.

I appreciate how you weaved the videos and quotes together to form your story about building an identity. I respectfully disagree that it really matters all that much. Put together a balanced mix of strong talent and a decently competent coaching staff and the team’s identity will be “winners.” I’m not sure this squad can get there, but I hope so.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
October 7, 2022 8:38 am

As long as they don’t take on Draymond Green’s identity, I think they are good!

Klam
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Nostradumbass 19
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October 7, 2022 10:03 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Haha, I laughed out loud reading this.

fossilizedflatus
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October 7, 2022 9:10 am

Mike Brown’s identity is as a defensive oriented coach:

This naturally leads to the topic of discussion with everyone right now (and really for several seasons in a row): defense. Brown is known for defense and there has been a lot of talk about it in training camp. If the Kings have at least an average defense with the potential to get better, that will mean they have something to lean on when shots aren’t falling 

The Sacramento Kings have to demonstrate that they’ve learned and adhere to this new philosophy. And that is both something that should show early (and was seen by the Bench Mob in the single pre-season game thus far) and will then need to build as the real, regular season campaign begins and carries through the entire season. As we hear all to often – the season is a marathon not a sprint. A Mike Brown team is what? Defense oriented and well prepared. Just like a Mike D’Antoni team (which this could have been if you remember the recent coaching search) is one we expect to see play a certain way, it’s on the defense side we should see a new Sacramento Kings “culture”.

Lastly, defense covers, like offense sets, is a learn to know and trust your teammates attribute. This also goes to team stability – how long will GM McNair and HC Mike Brown be together? How much more roster roulette will there be? Reliance needs Alliance – and particularly for team defense Stability increases Ability.

Last edited 1 month ago by fossilizedflatus
Jack
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October 7, 2022 9:51 am

Offense wins games, defense wins championships.

Kosta
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October 7, 2022 9:28 am

LeBron looks like he got Draymond’d by Harrison here.
comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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October 7, 2022 10:05 am
Reply to  Kosta

comment image

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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October 7, 2022 10:42 am

A new Identity will be Bourne!

RobHessing
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October 7, 2022 11:19 am

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RikSmits
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October 7, 2022 11:29 am

Be winners.

Until then, we’ll have the identity of losers.

andy_sims
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October 7, 2022 11:46 am
Reply to  RikSmits

So simple!

This you? You’re a Natural.

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RikSmits
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October 7, 2022 12:11 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Ultimately, yes.

All this talk about culture and identity is hollow if it doesn’t translate to winning. And the Kings have been decent at talking the talk.

Last edited 1 month ago by RikSmits
Yakshi
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October 7, 2022 11:43 am

comment image&ct=g

Kosta
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October 7, 2022 11:49 am
Reply to  Yakshi

purple steel

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