NBA

Mike Brown, Sacramento Set To Begin New Era Of Kings Basketball

Jun 21, 2022, 3:42 PM | Updated: 4:00 pm
(Chris Watkins/Sactown Sports 1140)...
(Chris Watkins/Sactown Sports 1140)
(Chris Watkins/Sactown Sports 1140)

Not even 24 hours removed from a championship parade in downtown San Francisco, Mike Brown took the stage at Golden 1 Center on Tuesday afternoon to make his first appearance as the newest head coach of the Sacramento Kings.

“I couldn’t turn up as much as I wanted to because of this press conference today,” Brown joked when asked about the quick turnaround following Monday’s Golden State Warriors championship celebration.

After defeating the Boston Celtics in six games last week, the Warriors claimed its fourth NBA championship over the past eight seasons, giving Brown his third ring with the organization since and fourth-career title over 25 years as an assistant or associate head coach.

“We’ve got to get one for the thumb,” Brown said with a laugh when asked which finger he will place his fourth championship ring.

Brown spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time as the Kings’ new head coach, a position that he was hired for during Golden State’s postseason run. Sacramento’s general manager Monte McNair shared that seven candidates came through town to interview for the role, but when the dust settled, it was clear that Brown was the man for the job.

“We did a lot of research that came down to three things for us: Experience, successful head coaching experience. Relationships, the ability to build relationships across the organization, and leadership. Leadership as a head coach and leadership for everything that we are doing here,” McNair said of his new coach during Tuesday’s press conference.

“Coach Brown’s pedigree stood out. We are extremely excited to bring [Brown] aboard.”

Several Kings players were in attendance for Brown’s introduction to the city, including star point guard De’Aaron Fox, last season’s first-round pick Davion Mitchell, veteran center Richaun Holmes and guard Terence Davis.

Seeing a bevy of players in attendance isn’t something that is seen often at these types of press conferences, but it’s clear that this current group of players are putting an emphasis on camaraderie this offseason, something that fans got a glimpse of last week when star center Domantas Sabonis shared images from a team trip to wine country.

Like Brown’s press conference on Tuesday, several members of the Kings’ roster and coaching staff were on the recent trip to the countryside to taste wine and try a variety of cheeses, a group activity between teammates that can build chemistry and strengthen the soul of the team.

“Every organization out there has a soul. The stronger that soul is, the better that organization will be,” Brown said on Tuesday. “Having a strong soul equates to having a winning culture.”
Using the words ‘Kings’ and ‘winning’ in a sentence is enough to make any person confused or disoriented, but that’s Brown’s goal as he attempts to become the first head coach to lead this franchise to the postseason in over 16 years: winning.

“I’m not coming here to have fun and embrace the moment, I’m here to win,” Brown said when asked about the NBA-record-setting 16-season playoff drought. “We are going to embrace anything in front of us that talks about winning.”

If this Kings team wants to become a winner, they have hired a coach that has experienced winning basketball in nearly every coaching situation that he has ever been in.

Brown brings coaching experience from his time under the legendary Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, respected coach and NBA champion Rick Carlisle in Indiana, and of course, future Hall of Fame head coach Steve Kerr in Golden State.

When you look at the current state of Sacramento’s roster, the obvious names that jump off the page are those of star guard De’Aaron Fox recently-acquired two-time All-Star center Domantas Sabonis. Any success that the Kings want to have in the coming years will ride on those two players, something that Brown feels strongly can help bring this franchise to the promised land sooner than later.

“As a tandem in the pick and roll, they are very, very good. Probably a top-two or top-three combination in the league right now,” Brown said of Fox and Sabonis’s dangerous two-man game.

“I’m a firm believer in paint touches. You can put Sabonis on the post and he can facilitate from there, and then you can also spread the floor out and tell [Fox] to get in that paint and finish or distribute. I’m excited about those two guys doing a lot of different things offensively.”

Of course, Fox and Sabonis’ chemistry as a two-headed monster is important for Sacramento, but the defense has been the team’s Achilles heel for nearly two decades. Brown, who has coached his previous teams to elite or respectable defensive metrics, will hope to steer the Kings into calmer waters on the defensive end following years of choppiness.

“I’m going to preach from day one that they are going to have communication, they are going to give effort, and they have to trusts one another. On top of that, you throw out a defensive system that fits for this group, you have a chance to be pretty good,” Brown said of how he will bring his defensive track record to this team.

Brown was the architect of Golden State’s impressive defense in 2021-22, which ranked first in the NBA in defensive rating and third in opponent points per game.

Sacramento has not logged a defensive rating better than 20th in the league since the playoff drought began in 2006. In 2021-22, the Kings finished the season with the 27th-ranked defensive rating in the NBA.

“Will we be a top-two defense this year? I don’t know, probably not. It’s going to be a process, but I’m excited about all of the guys.”

One thing that really stuck out during Brown’s presser was that he has certainly been involved in Sacramento’s offseason to this point, even while coaching in Golden State during a championship run.

Brown told the media that he hopped on a plane immediately following the Warriors’ second-round win over the Dallas Mavericks to travel down to Southern California for a meeting with Fox. Not only did Brown meet with the star guard, he watched Fox work out and spent some time catching up with other members of the Kings before traveling back to San Francisco to prepare for the Western Conference Finals.

That type of commitment and work ethic from Brown will be refreshing to the Sacramento Kings fanbase, players and anyone else that is hoping for change in the 916.

As we head into Thursday’s NBA Draft, arguably the most important day that the Kings’ franchise has had in over four years, there is a sense of comfortability knowing that Mike Brown is in the coach’s seat here at Golden 1 Center.

Now it’s time for Brown and McNair to put it all together.

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