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Dave Joerger looking to build foundation by teaching young Kings fundamentals

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Joerger hosted a coaching clinic Saturday in Sacramento. He took some time to discuss the Kings future.

Photo by Kimani Okearah

Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger held a coaches clinic Saturday. The event provided other NBA, NCAA and NBDL coaches professional insights to coaching at all levels.

Joerger’s first annual coaches clinic in Sacramento featured guests Damon Stoudamire (former NBA player and current men’s basketball head coach at the University of the Pacific), Kings assistant coach Elston Turner and UC Davis men’s basketball coach Jim Les. Joerger appreciated the chance to get to know local coaches while trying to help people in the community. The event benefitted the Dave Joerger’s Foundation, which gives underprivileged children opportunities to have experiences they may not otherwise have and gives them a vision of the possibilities of success in their futures.

Joerger took some time, in between some spirited passing drills and providing a variety of other coaching tips, to chat about his Kings team. Here are some excerpts.

On seeing some of his current players, like Ben McLemore, working out in Sacramento.

"It's fun to go in a gym once and while by yourself, and really feel good about yourself that you're doing something that maybe somebody else isn't doing. But there is also fun about doing it as a group and we've got a young group of guys that if they can do it together there's synergy and a camaraderie that hey, we're doing this thing together. So getting groups of guys together, maybe it's not in Sacramento. Maybe next week, it's Malachi [Richardson] is working and wants to go to Vegas, and it's fun to maybe have the whole group go there, or Dallas where Buddy [Hield] is or wherever. I think that's positive to build what we're trying to build for three years from now.

What he wants to see out of guys like Skal [Labissiere], Buddy and Willie [Cauley-Stein] next season.

“First of all, their bodies get stronger every year. Secondly, their experience level goes up and I think that's why going out and competing drives you as a competitor to raise your game and so you see it and you go back to the lab and you’ve got to work on what you got to work on. First of all, physical, secondly the experience and then third, your skill level as you develop, it has to just keep getting better and better. Each guy has their own specific skills that we want them to work on.

I can't really tell you well, we're going to play like this because I don't know yet what it looks like with three more draft picks potentially this year. So, I haven't sat down and scripted it out. A lot of it depends on especially your point guard position. What kind of point guard do you have? And so then I think you are going to see us lay down some foundation of you know what this is what we're going to be and stick with for two, three years.”

On bringing the Kings some luck in the NBA Lottery.

“That's why you walk away while you are there. I can't go back next year, I did mine, and I want to walk away leaving it there, but it's exciting. I think when you talk about, which you're not supposed to, about teams that didn't win as many games - we played really hard and there was talk all around the NBA about you know what, those Kings they're not tanking, and they're playing hard and that's the way it should be. I love that, maybe it's karma or not, not to say that it is, but I think it's pretty cool that we ended up with three, swap it and we end up with five. Our guys deserve it, they played their tails off and I just think that's how you build culture.

On how he will approach coaching a new-look team next season.

“My approach is probably more so long-term, broader strokes at this point. I think when you have a younger team I think my philosophy is fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. They might think it's boring – I don't care. If it wasn't so, we would not be, we would be the 6th seed in the West, but we're not. So, let's build it and let's build it right so that two, and three and four years from now they can be closer to their full potential as possible versus just go out there, run up and down and hope the ball goes in.”