The Sacramento Kings Are Gaining Speed

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Finally, real Sacramento Kings news is back for me to talk about. The doldrums of the offseason were really starting to get bad, but now thankfully training camp is here and there’s a whole lot going on.

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One new thing head coach George Karl has been doing to reinforce the fast tempo he wants his squad to play at is shortening the shot clock during the intra-squad scrimmages the Kings routinely end practice with.

For Wednesday’s scrimmage the shot clock was set down to 18 seconds, six shorter than the NBA-regulation 24 second shot clock. That is a huge difference, and obviously means Sacramento’s offense needs to be moving far faster than a typical team does to get any sort of a good look.

Pace is an important aspect of any team, and Karl is smart to get his team used to playing at the fast pace he prefers–expecting players to be able to automatically have a feel for running an offense that routinely doesn’t use the entire shot clock is foolish.

There’s really no right or wrong pace to play at–teams like the Memphis Grizzlies have found a lot of success slowing down games to nearly a dead stop and running their offense through the post, while Karl’s Nuggets and Mike D’Antoni‘s Suns did really well at a blistering pace.

Blistering is the adjective it seems Karl favors for this Kings offense, considering he’s not yet done shortening the shot clock for Sacramento scrimmages according to this Kings.com article:

"“[The shot clock will] be at 14 one day. The whole thing is to speed them up because they’ve got to learn how to not make mistakes playing fast,” Karl told the Sacramento Bee."

Having a 14 second shot clock is certainly going to result in a lot of mistakes at first, but if there’s a time to have a lot of missed shots and turnovers it’s definitely training camp and the preseason as opposed to the games that actually matter.

Still though, I’m a little worried if Karl is more concerned with the time shots are released than the quality of the look. He’s a proven winner while utilizing his system of course, but personally I believe finding the open shot is more important than finding a shot within 14 seconds.

That’s not to say George Karl is telling his players to ignore open looks in favor of chucking shots right away or anything like that–I’d just rather see an emphasis on efficiency than pure speed.

But Karl is known for running his own system, and it certainly works out well for some players and teams. Omri Casspi‘s career year is a pretty great example of that. And before I’m willing to knock his way for being a little different idealistically than mine I’m going to wait and see how it works for this rebuilt Kings team.

If this squad can make the playoffs this season under Karl just as his Nuggets teams did then there’s no question that Karl’s fast gameplan is a great one–pulling off great successes with two different franchises isn’t easy, but it’s something George Karl has a chance at doing this season in Sacramento.

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