Coach Mike Brown explains increasing the physicality on both ends

Oct 4, 2023, 4:06 PM | Updated: 4:07 pm

Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown shouts to his team during their game against the Phoenix Sun...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

On day two of the Sacramento Kings 2023-24 training camp, head coach Mike Brown spoke with reporters about improving the physicality as a whole, what JaVale McGee has brought to the team, the backup center role, and more.

Increasing the physicality has been a theme since the California Classic. Assistant coach and Summer League head coach Luke Loucks preached improving the physicality then and mentioned that it would also translate to the regular season roster. We’re starting to see and hear about that as training camp continues.

Coach Brown quickly responded when asked what he primarily wanted to implement.

“The level of physicality,” Brown said. “I’m going to keep harping on it because, like I said, we have to start right now. It can’t be something that we try to figure out come playoff time because then it will be too late.”

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With Sacramento ranking 24th in defensive rating last season, the team hopes upping the physicality will result in improvement.

“Defensively, in the pick-and-roll situation, if I know a screen is coming, I’ve got to get up into the ball,” Brown said. “I don’t want to just turn here and try to force him to towards the screen, I want to get up into the ball and skinny up and get over the screen at the same time. If a guy is going to set a screen, I want to bump, bump, bump, and make him change his route. I don’t want him to go from point A to point B in a direct line the way he wants to go. Those are a couple of examples on the defensive end.”

There are still ways that can be implemented into their offensive game. Not giving in to what defenses are trying to force is essential.

Offensively, if somebody tries to do that to me, I want to run through it,” Brown said. “I want to go set a hard, solid screen to get a teammate open. Those are a couple of examples.”

Mike Brown and his Sacramento roster struggled to protect the rim last season, partially due to personnel, but it went beyond that. Brown expressed a desire for his team to be on a string rotationally and asked everyone to be willing to take charges, as needed. Adding McGee, a seven-footer with a reputation as a rim protector, could ease that process.

“JaVale, he’s been in multiple finals, so he understands what it takes to play at that level,” Brown said. “One thing JaVale is probably going to have to get used to, and he can do it, is to play fast not most possessions but every possession and we’re going to continue to push him to do that on both sides of the ball. His length, his size. He’s not just long and skinny, he’s a grown man. He’s big across the chest, he’s got broad shoulders, and he’s long, he’s athletic, and he knows how to play and so adding that to our team is going to give us a different look compared to what we had last year.

The backup center position was in flux throughout most of the 2022-23 season, but they hope to find some consistency heading into the new season.

“We’re going to go with who we go with at the end of the day and we’ll rock with that,” Brown said. “Obviously, as you guys know, I’m not afraid to make a change if I need to, so if I feel like I need to make a change, we will.”

McGee may emerge as the backup of choice, but there’s still time before roles are solidified. 

Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule

  • Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason Opener)
  • Wednesday, October 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7 PM PST (in Anaheim, CA)
  • Sunday, October 15th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
  • Wednesday, October 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
  • Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST

Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule

  • Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
  • Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM (Season Opener)
  • Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM (Home Opener)

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Coach Mike Brown explains increasing the physicality on both ends