George Karl led his first (two-hour) practice as head coach of the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and shared some of the changes he is looking to focus on.
He wants his players to play at a higher speed than they have in the past, wants more out of the bench, hopes to push Ben McLemore to be more aggressive, get Nik Stauskas more minutes and is considering lineup changes. One of those changes is using Rudy Gay more at the power forward spot, Karl told reporters.
"I think I'll play him more at four than he's played the first 52 games. I think you are going to see me play small with him being my four man. The last game against Chicago they played that way for a while and I thought it was pretty good," said Karl, who is impressed with Gay's size and athletic abilities.
In that Feb. 10 game against the Bulls, Gay scored 24 points, had 7 rebounds and 5 assists, but the Kings lost 104-86.
"For me, getting 48 minutes of flow and rhythm might mean I've got to change the lineup a little bit and play people in a different way," Karl continued.
He followed that up by saying he wants the bench to have more of a positive impact on the game.
Gay spent most of his time playing power forward with Team USA last summer and has been used as a part-time stretch four by previous coaches on occasion. Former Kings head coach Michael Malone expressed hesitancy about relying on Gay at the power forward spot too much going into this season.
Gay said spending more time at power forward wouldn't be a problem.
"I've done it before, he [Karl] hasn't talked about me doing it exclusively, but I don't see how that's a bad thing for us," Gay said. "He never told me not to be me. He wants Rudy Gay to play the four, he doesn't want Rudy Gay to be a four. Just go out there and be myself and try to help."
Gay said he knows the system Karl uses because he has played against him a lot over his career.
"Offensively, we have to put pressure on people … We pressured each other out here on the court just playing five on five against each other and incorporating how he wants us to play. It's a good offense for me - I think it's great, we just have to buy into it," Gay said.
When asked is there is a sense of excitement amongst the team about Karl coming in as the new coach, Gay responded with this.
"It's hard to excite me now to be honest with you, It's really hard to excite me. But I think it's a little bit more security I believe, knowing that he's going to be here for a while and the kind of reputation he has," Gay said.