“Pace” has been a hot button term in Sacramento for a few years now, ever since the Kings fired Mike Malone in 2013 because he wasn’t pushing the tempo enough for the front office’s liking. Malone wasn’t exactly building a plodding offense either (his only full season saw the Kings at 14th in the league in Pace) but the Kings wanted to be the Warriors, so Malone had to go.
Then came George Karl, who got the memo and decided to have the Kings run, run, run. The Kings were the fastest team in the league that year, putting up a pace of exactly 100 possessions a game. The team wasn’t particularly good, but they were playing with pace.
Dave Joerger came in and slowed things down a bit last season with the Kings coming in at just 23rd in the league in pace. Like Malone, Joerger seemed to want to build his team around its best player, DeMarcus Cousins, who was not at his best in a high-octane offense. But now Cousins is gone, and the Kings don’t even really have a nominal best player. Even their second best player, Rudy Gay, is gone. What’s left is a handful of vets and a whole bunch of young guys, and that’s a recipe for a fast-paced offense if I’ve ever seen one, especially when the Kings drafted the fastest guy in the entire draft with their top pick.
At media day, Dave Joerger mentioned that he would like to see the team play a bit faster this year and he’s continued to bring it up during training camp.
Now, I don’t think the Kings are going to try to go for any records and they probably won’t be the fastest team in the league, but with the roster being comprised mostly of guards and a few athletic bigs (aside from Z-Bo and Papa), this is going to be a quick team. We’re going to see a lot of pushes in transition and a whole lot of mistakes as the team learns the system and the NBA (so many of these guys are only in their first couple years in the league), but it should be fun to watch.
Pace seemed to be something that was forced on the Kings before, an ill-fitting suit. Now the team’s built for it and it makes a lot more sense. I’m looking forward to seeing how Joerger speeds up the offense in year two.