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More Mike Malone: Defense, rebounding will be hallmarks of Kings

The new coach is focusing on defense, rebounding, running when it's smart and moving the ball safely.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Malone will be introduced as the Sacramento Kings' 12th head coach on Monday. (I don't count interims.) He talked more about his vision for the team with The Bee's Jason Jones for Monday's paper. It's what you'd expect given Malone's pedigree.

"The identity of our team is going to essentially come down to four things," he told The Bee on Saturday. "Defense is No. 1. Rebounding is No. 2. And once we rebound, we want to become a running team, but we run with discipline. And that means obviously taking care of the ball and proper shot selection. The last thing is valuing the basketball and sharing the basketball."

He also said he wants the Kings to clog the paint and close off "middle drives," something the Kings rarely did last season. It follows that having a shotblocker in the paint would aid this tremendously; it should be noted that the Warriors' defense in 2012-13 zipped upward once Andrew Bogut returned from injury, while the offense remained stable. Golden State finished No. 14 in overall defense, No. 8 in shooting defense and No. 1 in defensive rebounding.

Last season, the Kings finished No. 29 in overall defense, No. 27 in shooting defense and No. 30 in defensive rebounding. So ...

Jones also posits that you need defensive players to make defensive strides, which is spot on. That makes me interested in Monday's Rudy Gobert workout. He's 7'2 with a 9'7 standing reach and led the French league in blocks. He's not good on offense (he finishes pick-and-rolls and crashes the offensive glass, basically) and he's rail-thin. But Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert, Marc Gasol and Andrew Bogut are shining beacons on the importance of frontcourt length to a defense. Gobert isn't nearly as strong as those guys, and each of them has more offensively. But all of those guys are also older and more experienced now. They weren't always who they are now. It might be worth taking a chance. (Gobert's defensive rebounding is highly suspect, though.) Along these lines, Gorgui Dieng -- three years older, three inches (at least) shorter -- might be a fit for Malone's vision, too.