James Ham has an interesting piece on the apparent end of Keith Smart's run as coach of the Sacramento Kings. We all know and have voiced the complaints: bizarre rotation, strange absences for weeks at a time for some players, unbelievable fourth quarter lineup choices. But we haven't heard that much from any of the players who have thrived under Smart. Until now.
From James' piece on Cowbell Kingdom:
"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."
Tyreke Evans also joins in. You'd expect a player like Chuck Hayes, Jimmer Fredette or even Marcus Thornton express frustration. But Smart made Isaiah the starter last season. And even he gets toyed with in the rotation! James gives special mention to Smart's fourth quarter lineups on Friday -- Travis Outlaw and James Johnson, against all odds, together on an NBA court -- and it's exactly that sort of thing that frustrates everyone. No one is going to scream if you let Outlaw collect like 100 minutes all season. When you pop him in and out of the rotation all year long at the expense of more productive players, you're going to get on people's nerves.
I'm eager to hear whether Hayes ever comments on this season and how bizarre it's been. Other than Jimmer, I don't think any King has a bigger case against Smart's decisions.