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King’s players frustrated with Smart’s random rotations

Apr 8, 2013, 9:32 AM EDT

Keith Smart AP

Much earlier in the season, most teams go to a set rotation — guys know pretty much how many minutes they will get a night, when then will get rest, when they are going to come off the bench and so on. There are variations, but the outline is in place.

Not so much in Sacramento.

Even this late in the season Keith Smart is experimenting, tweaking and going nightly with what he thinks works rather than a pattern. Smart’s moves often seem a reaction to the other coach’s proactive moves, not trying to create an advantage for himself. Why did DeMarcus Cousins play just seven minutes Friday night?

Players like routine. Speaking with James Ham at Cowbell Kingdom they said the random rotations leave them guessing.

“It’s just tough as a player,” starting point guard Isaiah Thomas said following Friday night’s loss to the Mavericks. “I always say that when you have inconsistent minutes, you’re going to have inconsistent production.

“It’s nothing we can control,” Thomas continued. “It’s how coach Smart likes to coach and you just got to go with it and always be ready at all times, because you never really know when you’re going to go in the game or come out…”

“A little bit, it’s a little frustrating,” Tyreke Evans said when asked if Smart’s rotations were wearing on him. “Everybody’s frustrated. This is the NBA and when the rotation don’t go right for us, we’ve got to be professional. We’ve got to learn to hear our coach. If he don’t make the right subs with somebody, you can’t be mad. Whoever’s out there just got to work.”

It may be frustrating but it almost certainly will not be an issue next year. No matter what happens with the team’s ownership or where they are playing next season — Sacramento or Seattle — there will be sweeping changes in the front office and likely with that in the coaching ranks. The only question is when (not long after the new owners get control) but not if.

  1. patfic15 - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Here. Let me help you out guys. OK. So you guys suck. You have no leadership. Your owners are blowhards who got lucky in the early 2000s. You draft immature players with limited skill sets and less coaching. Follow the Wizards example. Trade for some talented vets. Good locker room guys too. Without injuries, these guys would be in the playoffs.

    • rossthebosspalmer - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      Haha looks like our simultaneous posts run contrary to each other. I agree with your take

  2. rossthebosspalmer - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I wish they kept Robinson. This team has talent, hope to watch them in the playoffs one day.

  3. saint1997 - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    I would be angry too. The Kings have 2 all star talents and they’re playing Tyreke 30 minutes a night when he’s one of them??? Why play bad veterans as much as developing offensive forces like Mr Evans or Mr Cousins. Seriously annoys me because they complain about losing then dont let the talent develop and instead let it rot

  4. mazblast - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    There’s a thin line between being unpredictable and being inconsistent. Smart has crossed it regularly. I’m no big fan of Cousins or the other players on the ill-assembled roster, but I can see how Smart’s seemingly random coaching moves drive them to distraction.

    You don’t have to make the same coaching moves every time–in fact, doing that is a sure-fire recipe for failure–but you do have to give your players a certain comfort level, an IDEA of when and how they’re going to be used.

  5. bball1950 - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Basketball players like to know where their teammates will be. That’s why it takes time for a team to become a team. If Coach Smart keeps changing the rotation, then the players will never feel comfortable. Seems not so smart of a move.

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