Luke Walton, Harrison Barnes explain why Sacramento has been god-awful to start season
Luke Walton and Harrison Barnes recently joined Sam Amick of The Athletic to discuss the Kings’ shaky start to this season.
Sacramento is currently holding an 0-5 record. This is a bit of a surprise, as some experts thought the Kings would be competing for a spot in the postseason. It’s not quite time to panic yet, but the level of anxiety is certainly rising for fans of the team.
So… what’s going on with the Kings?
According to Walton, who was named head coach in April, the Kings didn’t have ample time to install their system before the start of the regular season:
“Yeah, we want to be a running team,” Walton told The Athletic. “We’re good at running. We’re good when we get out and run. But we had three days (of training camp) before India (the Kings left on Sept. 30 to play two preseason games against the Indiana Pacers and returned on Oct. 6). And in three days, we had to get a whole system in to where we could at least play an NBA game, you know what I mean? And then you fly 20 hours, and then four days later you fly back 20 hours.”
Walton went on to say that the Kings’ training camp was limited due to concerns about injuries:
“And then, your main concern becomes, ‘Well, we’ve got to make sure we go into the season healthy, because we’ve been traveling for 40 (hours),’ you know what I mean? So the normal training camp running that we’re going to do, we’re not doing that,” Walton explained. “We’re not going to risk hamstring (injuries) and whatever else comes with that, so all right let’s keep focusing on our execution. So we work more on execution, defense and stuff (like that) to where it’s not as physically draining on the guys. So yeah, do we want to play fast? Yes. Are we going to continue to try to play fast? Absolutely. Did we get our normal type of running done in training (camp)? No. But that’s life.”
Kings forward Harrison Barnes says the Kings’ defensive communication has been a bit off through the early stages of this season:
“Communication defensively (is the biggest problem),” Barnes, who signed a four-year, $85 million deal in the summer, told The Athletic. “There’s just a lot of times where indecisive, or making calls late – whether it’s pick and roll coverage, help defense, pulling over, it’s just little things where we should be doing them, or we’re communicating late or we’re communicating the wrong thing. Things like that, it’s just being sharper with those and I think that’s the easy, addressable thing, you know what I’m saying? You can talk about it in practice, you can watch tape, but we as players have to hold each other accountable and take ownership of the fact that we’re not doing that at a high level right now.”
The Kings are 0-5, but they’ve played well in some of those losses. In fact, they were leading by 14 points in Wednesday night’s game against the Hornets. However, Charlotte rallied for a 118-111 victory behind P.J. Washington’s 23 points.
Sacramento’s next shot at claiming a victory comes on Friday night, as they’re scheduled to host the Utah Jazz. Tip-off inside the Golden 1 Center is set for 10:00 p.m. ET.