The Sacramento Kings couldn’t have had much fun playing defense last season. The team finished with a 116.5 defensive rating, one of the worst in NBA history.
Moe Harkless, a veteran who the Kings acquired from Miami for Nemanja Bjelica in March, has developed a reputation over his nine seasons in the NBA as a solid 3-and-D wing. According to Harkless, much of the team being a successful unit on defense has to do with the team’s mentality.
“It’s a mindset thing,” Harkless said. “Defense is all about wanting to, and a little bit of know-how at this level, but it’s really about effort. The guys you mentioned, we all love that side of the ball as much as the other side, so I think the mindset that we’ll bring to camp, if guys aren’t already on the same page with that mindset, they’ll get there because it’s contagious and it’s fun.
Harkless raises a good point regarding effort. It was evident last season that much of the Kings’ defensive issues last season had to do with an overall lack of effort. Whether it was players falling asleep on back cuts or just a lack of getting back on transition defense, it was an issue that plagued the team just about every game.
Harkless isn’t the level of defender that can make the Kings good on that end alone but setting the defensive tone is something that can only be seen as a positive for the Kings heading into the season.
Hopefully, Harkless can be one of the key guys to pull the Kings’ defense from the doldrums of the NBA this season.