Mike Brown has implemented new offensive aspects with postseason success in mind
Dec 1, 2023, 5:22 PM
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Most people viewed last season as a resounding success for the Sacramento Kings, considering they ended a league-leading 16-season postseason drought. Yet, while head coach Mike Brown considered it a step in the right direction, he was less than enthused with a first-round exit and continues to aim higher.
“We did what we’re supposed to do. We made the playoffs,” he said. “We got knocked out in the first round. Again, I will say, for me, and I think for most guys in that locker room, if not all of them, at the end of the day, when they hear it that way, we want more than that, and we definitely want more than that this year.”
Aiming to increase their postseason production, Mike Brown has implemented new wrinkles into a high-powered offense that set the NBA record for offensive rating the year prior.
Their five offensive staples remain pace, spacing, ball reversals, paint touches, and playing in the point five. But, now, they are emphasizing hunting matchups when appropriate while maintaining the aforementioned core principles.
“We’re not just playing freely and going at whoever,” Domantas Sabonis said after Friday’s practice. “We’re slowing down and making sure we’re getting this person in the possession.”
Of course, that process comes with growing pains, as new implementations tend to be for teams around the NBA. Through 17 games, the Kings currently rank 12th in offensive rating (114.1) and 11th in pace (100.5). While their offensive rating is significantly lower than last season’s (118.6), the pace has been nearly identical (100.99).
Mike Brown knows the risk involved in potential changes, but again, he’s not viewing last season’s first-round exit as a resounding success whilst aiming higher.
“It can be a little tough for some guys to fully embrace right away, but at the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that anytime you want to try to go from good to great, you’re going to have to make changes,” he said Friday. “You can’t just run it completely back the exact same way.”
“And, when you make those changes, sometimes you make drastic ones, sometimes you make small ones, but every time you make a change, you kind of roll the dice because it’s either going to work or it ain’t going to work. But, you’ve got to let it marinate. Give it some time before you make your change.”
That’s not to say they’ve completely strayed from last season’s successful offensive recipe. They run similar sets and freelance schemes, but Mike Brown is asking his players to recognize advantageous matchups while on the floor.
Player intelligence, recognition, and subsequent action are crucial in this aspect. Brown can’t, and doesn’t want to, be calling out a specific target each time down the floor. It’s on the players to recognize and capitalize as they go.
“It can be good if it’s done the right way,” Mike Brown said. “We’re real cautious about that because we didn’t do it much last year, but there are guys on opposing teams that, just like there are probably guys on our team, that you want to make sure that they’re working on both ends of the floor.”
“With the way that our offense is, especially with our flow offense, we can get everybody, and anybody involved that we want to be involved and have them work. But, we just to be able to recognize where we are and pick it up on the fly so that it’s seamless, and we’re still able to play fast while doing so.”
It’s a process. The Sacramento Kings have played just 17 games in 2023-24 and own an identical 10-7 record to the year prior.
So, while attempting to implement new wrinkles and points of emphasis into their prebuilt offense, their regular season record has yet to suffer. And ideally, it will benefit them in the postseason.
“It’s super early in the season,” Sabonis said. “The more we can do that, and we actually get to do that, when we do need to do that in the postseason, we’ll be able to do both.”
The playoffs are not the goal for Mike Brown and his Sacramento Kings. Their objective is an NBA Championship, and this change is an attempt to bolster their postseason chances where matchups become an increasingly crucial factor.
When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?
Sacramento will take two days off before facing two-time MVP center Nikola Jokic and the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets at Golden 1 Center on Saturday night.
The Nuggets will be playing the second game of a back-to-back after facing the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Nuggets coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.
- Saturday, December 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
- December 3rd-10th: NBA In-Season Tournament Week (Schedule TBD)
- Monday, December 4th – Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans – 7:00 PM PST**
- Monday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST
- Tuesday, December 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 7:30 PM PST
- Thursday, December 14th – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – 7:00 PM PST
** NBA In-Season Tournament Knockout Round