Mike Brown and the Kings fight for respect from opponents, fans, and even umpires.
DETROIT—The sacramento kings are in a constant search for respect in their season of changea battle that extends beyond the pitch and to the sidelines.
Sometimes it actually spills onto the court from the side when the first-year head coach Mike Brown was kicked out a few nights ago in Toronto for angrily contesting a series of calls against his team.
The reaction was certainly over the top, and for what it’s worth, the Kings bounced to defeat the Raptors with Brown watching from the locker room. It cost him $25,000 in an NBA fine.but he probably earned a lot of respect and admiration from his players.
“Every time we step on the court, we have to prove ourselves,” Brown said Friday night before the The kings beat pistons. “There’s a part of me that doesn’t like what happened because I’m the first to tell our guys, ‘Hey, no excuses.'”
You rarely hear a coach acknowledge what’s in plain sight. While Brown was racking up rings as a member of Golden State’s coaching staff, the Kings were in the wild: a perennial lottery team since 2006 and their last playoff series win was two years earlier.
But Brown, in his fourth stint as head coach, has nurtured this team into one of the best offensive units in the league. Brown was long noted as an excellent defensive tactician, leading the cleveland cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007.
He has the Kings scattering the ball down the court, leaving teams baffled as they reminisce about his time in Golden State and San Antonio, the latter where he spent time with Gregg Popovich between 2000 and 2003.
There’s an expectation to do more than compete, and Brown holds them to that standard.
“Even if the refs are having a bad night, we’re having a bad night or, you know, the buses broke down. Hey, we’re going to do it,” Brown said. “Because we’re in a good ‘Let’s believe.’ You know, having that belief no matter what it is is huge, especially if you want to go to the next level.”
That’s a large enough sample size to believe that what you see is sustainable. keegan murray he’s an impressive rookie with plenty of room to grow. Monk Malik add some instant scoring and harrison barnes He has some knowledge of the championship.
Domantas Sabonis was acquired in an exchange for Tyrese Haliburton last season, a trade that could be described as a win for both teams.
He and De’Aaron Fox have worked some magic together, with Fox arguably having his best season, at least his best from a drive-for-winning basketball standpoint, and both should receive heavy All-Star consideration this season. .
Brown’s chasing after the referees began when Fox received a technical during a free kick; Fox was walking away from the official, an act Brown said officials generally overlook.
“Great, man, knowing your coach has your back through thick and thin,” Fox said after the Kings used a third-quarter surge to beat the Pistons, 122-113, at Little Caesars Arena to end a long tour of the East at 3-3. “It starts at the top, it goes from the top down, when it comes to building a culture.”
They’re on pace to surpass last season’s modest 30-win campaign, more than half of that mark so far.
Whether it’s the media bogeyman, rival fans, or even the referees, teams feel it and want the respect and recognition for becoming a credible franchise. Fox is literally sorry.
“I go to the lane and I get hit a lot,” Fox said. “So if we don’t have that respect, for us it’s just about going out there and winning every game.”
The Kings have been called “kangz” for their dysfunctional ways, and even in their heyday, Shaquille O’Neal derisively called them the “Queens” during the height of the controversial and entertaining Lakers-Kings rivalry of the early 2000s.
But that quest for respect has turned vocal, with Brown still conscious enough to turn the camera inward.
“And just like I ask players to go out and fight and compete and earn the stripes and respect that we feel we deserve, I have to fight and compete and do the same for them,” he said. . “And we will get that respect one day.”
That one day it might come sooner than anyone expected.