Two games into their 2010 preseason, the Sacramento Kings may have shown us more of who they will become than anyone suspects.
Certainly, at this juncture for every NBA team, it’s difficult to recognize what is real and what isn’t.
We’ve yet to see shot-blocking center Samuel Dalembert play for the Kings, so there’s no true measure of his defensive effect.
The Kings need to be it large and immediate.
Sacramento’s defense against Phoenix and the L.A. Clippers in the respective first quarters of their two preseason games has been porous and soft.
It’s easy and natural for observers to assess the offensive end of the floor. However, it’s the defensive end where teams establish themselves.
There has to be a consistency of effort and commitment defensively for a team to compete, particularly on the road.
Most often, the ability to function in harmony defensively comes last in a team’s development. Perhaps Dalembert’s shot-blocking ability and defensive focus will permeate the squad.
That’s not something we’ll likely learn tonight when the Kings travel to Golden State for their first road preseason game. Yet, at some point, it’s the most important factor overall for the Kings to begin working towards.
Sacramento coach Paul Westphal and his coaching staff have the difficult job of highlighting the importance of playing physically, intelligently and coherently at the defensive end.
There is a reason teams attempt to establish a core group of players and keep them together. Why they want that core to be committed defensively thereby proclaiming with action what the team is about.
A common axiom around the league is young teams think about getting their personal games off before focusing at the defensive end.
Experience only is gained through taking a few lumps and going through historical progression.
The Kings have yet to display a penchant at the defensive end for consistently challenging movements with or without the ball. That’s where defense begins. Individually, you challenge where your assignment wants to move. You re-route him, if only temporarily. If you are defending a rebounder, work is done early and boxing out that player becomes a priority.
Defending individually as well as from a team standpoint means combining subtleties and nuances not often recognized by outside observers. It’s adhering to and recognizing how the team wants to attack offenses.
Actually, the NBA’s best defenses attack offenses. The Kings have to begin acquiring that mentality before they can establish consistency on a nightly basis.