PLAYERS: G Francisco Garcia, F Kenny Thomas, F Shareef Abdur-Rahim, G Orien
Greene*, F John Salmons *New acquisition
(11th in West) Points scored: 101.3 (8th in NBA) Points allowed: 103.1 (24th)
Coach: Reggie Theus (first season with Kings)
With the hiring
of Reggie Theus as coach, the owners of the Kings--also known as the owners of
the Palms Casino Resort--seem to be moving the franchise closer to Las Vegas,
in a figurative if not literal sense, and not just because Theus is a UNLV
product. During 13 seasons as a big guard with six NBA teams, he demonstrated a
Vegas-style flash and dash on and off the court: trash-talking and
fancy-passing, fur-wearing and club-hopping.
So what did Theus
do after the Maloof brothers, Gavin and Joe, lured him from New Mexico State?
He went all Bob Knight. "I'm not trying to be a jerk," Theus told The
Sacramento Bee. "All I want to do is set some parameters. The players know
they were irresponsible last year."
cellphone use from the team bus, which is tantamount to banning, say, oxygen
from the lives of these young millionaires. He instituted a curfew on the road.
He ran his players' tails off in practice while openly questioning their
defensive effort from past seasons, particularly that of Mike Bibby.
Theus says that
as a player he most respected the coaches who were toughest on him, and he
conjured up San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Utah's Jerry Sloan as guys who
have gotten it done the old-school way. Whether veterans such as Bibby and Ron
Artest want tough love from their coach remains to be seen. So far Artest has
bought into the rules and regs--he calls them "very reasonable," though
he expects the coach to also be "flexible" (the volcanic Artest's
definition of flexible perhaps being more flexible than most's)--but Artest's
history suggests at least one revolt before the season is over. And Bibby, when
upset, is capable of playing 82 games in a permanent sulk.
needed at Arco Arena to be sure, but the ol' Vegas guard is rolling the dice
with this one.
team's scout sizes up the Kings