Kings vs. Bucks Preview: SMARTEN UP

So long, sweet Westphal.
You'll likely be happier
without all of this.

Milwaukee Bucks at Sacramento Kings
The Gymmer, Sacramento
7 p.m. Pacific on Comcast SportsNet California

Rise the hot hand, y'all: it's a new era for Sacramento Kings basketball. Keith Smart has the reins, which almost assuredly means that Tyreke Evans has the reins. If Smart's Sacramento career is anything like his Golden State career, the guards will be given the green light to go go go. It can't be uglier than what we've witnessed this season, right?

Let me be clear that I don't revel in the exile of Westphal. It was necessary, but I don't dance in the streets when someone's career ends. (And it's pretty clear that Westphal is done as an NBA head coach.) While he hurt the club in a few ways -- none of our young players have developed from when they arrived or when he arrived, he cost the team a chance at a Tyreke-Kevin Martin backcourt, he may have cost the team Spencer Hawes for a one-year rental of Sam Dalembert and cap space we clearly didn't need, he quite likely influenced the re-acquisition of John Salmons -- he wasn't a Theusian disaster and he didn't get arrested (what up, Muss, it's all love).

But hey, that was some ugly, ugly ball we witnesses over the past two days, large swaths of last season and the overwhelming majority of the 2009-10 season. (Never forget how poorly that team finished after the hot start that earned Westphal his 2011-12 salary.) Westphal's penchant for pretty offense never materialized, and it's just us questioning our players' promise. Let us hope Smart unleashes the talent.

That will be extraordinarily difficult against the Bucks tonight; even without Bogut (out tonight for personal reasons), the Bucks are a deadly defensive club. With little lead time to change things up, the offense will rely on talent and performance (and luck). On the other end, Milwaukee's a bad offensive team; one of Beno Udrih or Drew Gooden is likely their most reliable scorer. The Kings should be able to prevent layup lines, right?

Game's at 7. Game threads at 7 and 8:30. Let's go Kings!

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