Tag:Keith Smart
Posted on: January 26, 2012 12:32 pm

Keith Smart and royal responsibility

By Matt Moore

I'm about to tell you why a 29-point loss was a good thing for a team that is 6-13. You may want to duck, I'm reaching so hard. The Kings lost 122-93 to the Nuggets Wednesday night. Amazingly, this was not the grossest figure for the Kings. They allowed 92 points in the paint. NINE.TEE.TWO. If you remove every single point the Denver Nuggets, primarily a perimeter, outside-in team scored Wednesday night, and kept all the points the Kings scored, Sacramento would have won by a single point. 

That's a nightmare. That's disgusting. That's horrific. That's ugly. That's disgraceful. That's depressing. That's unbelievable. That's so bad it's impressive.

Have  I mentioned that the Nuggets were without their starting center, Timofey Mozgov, who was attending the birth of his first child, and that two athletic wings in Arron Afflalo and Rudy Fernandez were out?

So how can this be a good thing? What possible good could have come from this? NBA.com relates that the Kings did not rest starters. They did not send out the scrubs. They made the team that was responsible for it live through it.
The final, insignificant moments of a blowout that had been decided before halftime were not so insignificant after all: coach Keith Smart played two Kings starters, Jason Thompson and Jimmer Fredette, all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter of the fourth game in six nights, and two others from the opening lineup, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, eight and seven minutes, respectively. They made “the mess,” as Smart called it, so they could stay around to clean it up.

“I want them to understand,” Smart said. “You can’t escape this…. You can’t go hide on the bench."
via They Can’t Escape This « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

The Kings are playing better under Smart. You can't tell after games like Wednesday night. But there is more competitiveness, more cohesion. The Kings were missing their arguably second-best player, after all. But they are wildly inconsistent, as bad, young teams are. Smart making it clear that they are held to their actions is considerably huge. He can give them a pat on the butt and punish them through that debacle at the same time. Smart's not absolved here. And Smart took responsibility for it. 


"We have to be able to deal with it."

Smart's not angry in the presser, he's not calling players out, he's taking responsibility and apologizing to the fans. He's not overreacting to a a terrible, awful, no-good performance.  He know there are going to be nights like this. Teams need games like this to motivate them, to force the to learn. And not hiding from it, by saying "You're going to lose, but you're going to learn" from it is making a bad situation into something positive. 

The Kings are terrible, and may not improve any time soon. But it's fascinating to watch a coach working through it well, even at the lowest points.  
Posted on: January 5, 2012 9:26 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 9:29 pm

Kings sign Smart as head coach... for two years?

By Matt Moore

So Paul Westphal was fired today as head coach of the Sacramento Kings. That's not really surprising, given the disappointing start to the season for the Kings and the continuing discord between Westphal, star power forward DeMarcus Cousins, and the general unrest in the locker room. Assistant coach Keith Smart was assigned as head coach for the time being, then immediately upgraded to interim coach. OK, that makes sense. Smart's been interim coach for two different teams in the past, has a lot of experience, and the Kings could use a steady hand and won't want to pay the money to essentially bring on a second coach when they have to pay out the rest of Westphal's contract. 

This all makes a modicum of sense, at least in the way that most NBA things do. 

But then there's this.

Yahoo Sports reports that the Kings have signed Smart for two years, with the deal guaranteed through 2013.

Sorry, come again?

The Kings have just committed to two years of a very qualified, very well-respected interim coach...who went 36-46 with the Warriors last year. The Kings are in a crucial position right now. They have to get Cousins back on the track to not only calming down emotionally, but contributing efficiently on the court. Tyreke Evans has to get sorted out because his game is mess right now. Marcus Thornton has to learn how to play off the ball. The team has to learn what a pass is. There's a world of work to be done, and if it goes wrong, it's going to set the franchise back another two to three seasons. 

Which is why you don't buy the cow just because you know it can produce milk of some kind.

I want to be clear, it's not that Smart can't work out. For all we know this could wind up as a genius signing if Smart pulls a Thunder Brooks and takes the team to the next level. It's a different situation entirely in a lot of ways but "young team with talent struggles, fires its coach and finds its answer from within" is not an impossible scenario. But you want to leave yourself an out.

Putting Smart in for the rest of the year gives you the ability to look for an upgrade at season's end. If someone is looking to get back into coaching and likes what he's seen of the Kings and is an upgrade on Smart, why not take a look at him? If Smart really does excel, you can always re-sign him or extend him. Even make the second year non-guaranteed. It's great to give a coach your confidence and the ability to coach without fear for his job. But you're not worried about this year in terms of wins and losses. You're worried about the next four years. 

The terrifying element behind this for Kings fans is that it seems financially-related. Getting Smart now at a cheap price keeps their costs low.  It seems like a move made not for what's best for the team, but to cover for the financial impact of Westphal without risking Smart's price going up. And for a team in the Kings' situation, they can't afford to not afford what's best for the organization.
Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:37 pm

What's next for Kings after Westphal?

By Matt Moore

With the predictable, yet sooner-than-expected firing of Paul Westphal today, the Kings seem to be in disarray. But looking at the roster and the talent available, plus the job being in California (be it Sacramento or Anaheim), you have to consider it to be one of the more attractive positions likely to open this year. Yes, the franchise is in disarray from an ownership and organizational perspective, but this is the NBA. Those things magically fade to the background if you start winning with a talented roster, and the Kings have a talented roster.

So who's on the radar for the Kings? We're going to give you a few options the Kings might explore and how those options play out with the different coaches, but first you need to understand the complexities of the situation.

The Kings are not, publicly or reportedly, under any financial strain, beyond the losses which were poured over in lockout talks. But the Maloofs were hit hard by the economic recession, which helped fuel their desire for the move to Anaheim last year that was thrwarted by the NBA. One of the primay reasons many believed Westphal would not be fired this season was due to the salary that must be paid to him in addition to a new coach. That the Kings felt it was imperative to move on is a good sign for Kings fans, indicating that they're willing to pay out the rest of the deal to get started on a new chapter. Still, the price tag on many of the options below may be too high. The situation in Sacramento goes beyond "get the best coach available."

Keith Smart: In November of 2008, P.J. Carlesimo was fired from the Thunder after a 1-12 start. A young
assistant and former player Scott Brooks took over. Voila. OK, so Keith Smart is 47, and this is his third stint as interim head coach. But if Smart somehow manages to get through to this team (including yes, DeMarcus Cousins), that would be the best possible situation for all. Smart wouldn't cost a fortune and has continuity. Drawbacks? Well, he was part of the horrible start and he's failed to stick at the two previous interim spots. Smart drew mixed reviews in Golden State before the Warriors hired Mark Jackson. He's got his work cut out for him.

Larry Brown: Yahoo Sports already brought up this possibility, via an executive. Brown might be great for DeMarcus Cousins with his brutal, intense ways. It also might detonate. Brown has experience (there's the understatement of the year) and brings a high-value name to the project. But Brown is also renown for crushing the souls and dreams of young guards. Let's see. Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette... yeah, this is like an execution line of hope under Brown. Brown's also 71, so he's not a long-term solution. He's also going to want more organizational control than GM Geoff Petrie is willing to surrender.

Don Nelson: Fast guards that don't play defense and a mercurial, angry forward? What could possibly go wrong here for Nelson? Nelson would likely want more control as well, and is no spring chicken either. But man would that team be fun to watch. This idea's already been floated by the Mercury News

Mike D'Antoni: See, it's a jump-to-conclusions mat! This one's out there, but it makes so much sense from a strategy standpoint. Say D'Antoni gets scapegoated (already happening) in New York because his front office listened to a former GM that wrecked their franchise and gave up the farm for a high-usage small forward who stuggles with anything except shooting out of ISO sets and rebounding. D'Antoni lands in Sacramento. Warmer weather. An explosive big man who's a bit of an enigma. Multiple players with liquid position skills. And a shoot-first undersized guard. Come on now. You want to watch this. Even a little. This has about zero percent chance of happening, but the idea was so good I couldn't resist listing it.

Phil Jackson: Haha, just kidding.

Mario Elie: Another Kings coach. Elie is popular with the players though, and has a longer history with the team. This is pretty unlikely given the team passing him over once, but if Smart is sent out at season's end after Westphal, Elie might be promoted.

Brian Shaw: The man many felt should have gotten the job in Los Angeles might want the chance to go after his old team. Shaw is a players' coach, which might be just what the Kings need. If he were to want to put the triangle in place, though, run as fast as humanly possible.

Quin Snyder: Snyder worked under the Spurs system in Austin as the Spurs' D-League coach, then as an assistant in Philadelphia under Doug Collins and this season as an assistant for Mike Brown and the Lakers. He's a development coach who can get through to players and has had nothing but good marks since his departure from Missouri. Plus Kings fans could get wigs of the hair, which is fun.

Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 9:38 pm

Golden State Warriors hire Mark Jackson as coach

The Golden State Warriors have announced the hiring of Mark Jackson as their next head coach. Posted by Ben Golliver. mark-jackson

In a press release issued on Monday, the Golden State Warriors announced the hiring of television analyst and former point guard Mark Jackson as their next head coach.
“After an extensive search and a great deal of consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Mark Jackson is the best coach for this team,” Warriors general manager Larry Riley said. “He will bring a youthful and fresh approach to our team, and the fact that he enjoyed a stellar playing career, where he served most of that time as the leader of some very successful teams, will prove invaluable in the long run. We were looking for a coach with leadership ability and a strong personality and believe Mark possesses those qualities. He’s very well respected in NBA circles, is a consummate professional and his knowledge and background will be an incredible asset for our team and organization.”

“We are tremendously excited about the addition of Mark Jackson as our new head coach,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said. “He epitomized leadership as a player in this league for 17 seasons, and we think that characteristic – and many other positive traits – will translate very well into his coaching duties with our young team. He was a leader and a winner both on and off the floor in this league, and we’re convinced that he is the right person to guide this team into the future and help us achieve the success that we are striving for as an organization.”
Jackson, a first-time head coach at 46 years of age, will assume his new duties as soon as the NBA Finals conclude. Yahoo! Sports reports the following contract details: "three years guaranteed, with team option for the fourth. He'll make $6 million-plus [total], league sources say." Jackson takes over for former coach Keith Smart, who was not retained following the 2010-2011 NBA season.

As noted last week, new Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber seemed intent on putting their own stamp on the franchise, and Jackson is certainly a big-name and fairly splashy hire. He should instantly command the respect of his players given his high profile, connections around the league and general basketball intelligence.

The Warriors were said to be seeking a more defensive-oriented approach, and Jackson played for two physical, intimidating teams in the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks of the 1990s. As with any first-time head coach, it remains to be seen whether Jackson's leadership and toughness on the court transfer to the bench.

Jackson was floated as a finalist for the position last week. Other names the Warriors reportedly considered included Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey, Boston Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw.

Posted on: May 30, 2011 4:01 pm

Mark Jackson is a finalist for Warriors coach?

Mark Jackson is reportedly a finalist to be head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Posted by Ben Golliver. mark-jackson

The King of Corny Catchphrases could have a new title in the near future: Golden State Warriors caoch.

CSNBayArea.com reports that Mark Jackson, the NBA television commentator notorious for screeching "Hand Down, Man Down" and "Mama, there goes that man" is reportedly a finalist to replace Warriors coach Keith Smart, who was let go in April.
Dwane Casey, Lawrence Frank and Brian Shaw are now said to be on the Warriors' short list. Put Mark Jackson on that list, too. He appears to be a finalist.

Jackson -- the former New York Knick, Indiana Pacer and current analyst for ESPN and ABC -- is very much being considered for the Golden State job. In fact, Jackson has had two conversations with the Warriors, including one with owner Joe Lacob, according two NBA sources.

That is significant because Lacob was not in on the Warriors' first set of discussions with candidates.
New Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber seem intent on putting their own stamp on the franchise, and Jackson would certainly be a big-name and fairly splashy hire. The team is also said to be seeking a more defensive-oriented approach, and Jackson played for two physical, intimidating teams in the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks of the 1990s.

With no head coaching experience, it's difficult to gauge Jackson's style or coaching philosophy. However, he's just 46 years old, seven years removed from his playing days and boasts an All-Star game plus a Finals appearance on his resume. In other words, he should be able to command the respect of -- and connect with -- today's players with ease.

It's been more than a month since Smart was let go and the NBA Draft is less than a month away and the Warriors hold the No. 11 pick. Golden State was reportedly interested in Mike Brown, but he was snatched up by the Los Angeles Lakers. Whether it's Jackson or someone else, the clock is ticking.
Posted on: April 28, 2011 2:57 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 1:56 pm

Warriors short list: looking for a powerless hand

Warriors short list includes several former head coaches, but seeks to give them "minimal input" over personnel decisions. Huh?
Posted by Matt Moore

With Keith Smart ousted in Golden State, the search naturally begins for his replacement. The next coach will be inheriting a roster built for speed, with defensive liabilities at multiple positions and a lot of guys that like to shoot... well, a lot. So who's on the early short list? From the Contra-Costa Times' Marcus Thompson.
Riley said the Warriors havent contacted anyone yet and dont have a timetable for hiring a new coach, though he said it wouldnt hurt to have one by the NBA draft, which is June 23.

He declined to reveal whom the Warriors have on their shortlist, but multiple sources -- from the team and in NBA circles -- said they believe former Cleveland coach Mike Brown and assistant coaches Dwane Casey of Dallas, Mike Budenholzer of San Antonio and Lawrence Frank of Boston are on that list. Casey and Frank are also former NBA head coaches.

One team source said the Warriors have an eye on former Utah coach Jerry Sloan. But thats considered a long shot, as the legendary coach isnt expected to come out of retirement for a rebuilding franchise.
via Head coach Keith Smart is one and done with Golden State Warriors - ContraCostaTimes.com.

Those are all pretty standard choices, and the move towards a more grounded, defensive-centric coach is evident. Frank was brought in to replace Tom Thibodeau in Boston, Brown is known most notably for his defensive work. Perhaps most interesting, though, is this snippet from Kawakami later: 

Riley suggested that a new coach will have only minimal input over player personnel. He will be expected to significantly improve the defense and get into the 2012 playoffs.

 Riley has been the one splitting responsibilities with Don Nelson, and handed a new contract to David Lee. So for this to be a move towards more autonomy in decision making smells like a power grab in a vaccuum. Furthermore, how does that mesh with the pursuit of veteran coaches, most of whom are going to want significant influence over personnel? You can't hire a defensive coach, give him a bunch of defensive-liability offense-centric players and say "Go get 'em!" There's got to be some level of balance going forward. 
Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: April 27, 2011 1:47 pm

Report: Warriors let go of coach Keith Smart

The Golden State Warriors reportedly part ways with coach Keith Smart. Posted by Ben Golliver. keith-smart

Update: CSNBayArea.com reports that the Warriors have indeed decided to part ways with coach Keith Smart. Smart signed a two-year contract last fall with a team option for 2011-2012. That option, the site reports, will not be picked up.

The team also issued the following statement.
“It’s never easy to make difficult decisions, especially when it involves someone that we have a great deal of respect for like Keith Smart,” said Warriors Owner Joe Lacob. “After meeting extensively with Larry Riley and Bob Myers, we came to the conclusion that a change was necessary at this particular time. I think Keith did an admirable job this season and he should be commended for many of the positive things that transpired both on and off the floor. The team showed improvement and their effort was never in question. However, we’ve elected to pursue a new path and we wish Keith the very best. He’s a quality person and we thank him for the time he invested with our organization.” 
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger has more on the decision.

Original Post:

The first year of the post-Don Nelson era in Golden State didn't end in abject failure, but it also didn't end with a trip to the playoffs. New Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber have repeatedly made public their intentions of turning the team into a perennial winner.

Now that the season is over, the question is whether head coach Keith Smart will be a part of that building process. It's not looking promising: the Oakland Tribune reports Wednesday that Smart's tenure could end this week.
A team source said a decision is expected within the next two or three days, while another source "wouldn't be surprised if he's let go (Wednesday)."
Larry Riley, recently named executive vice president of basketball operations, said on April 15 that the Warriors would begin evaluating Smart in eight or nine days, which would have been last weekend.
New owners in any sport always want "their guy." In this case, Smart served as a solid bridge last season given the timing involved in the Warriors purchase. He knew the players, had a system and was given the opportunity to prove he was the man for the job long-term. 

Smart's first season on the job produced 36 victories, an improvement over the team's 26 in 2009-2010 and 29 in 2008-2009. But the Warriors invested some serious coin in forward David Lee and expectations were raised with that signing.

The problem, as always for the Warriors, was defense, where the team ranked No. 26 in efficiency. The offense wasn't all that either, ranking No. 12 league-wide. On both sides of the ball there are ongoing questions about whether guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry -- who are both undersized and need the ball in their hands to be most effective -- are a good match going forward. 

If there's one real knock on Smart, it's that Curry didn't take more of a leap forward in his second season. While his scoring numbers were slightly up, his assists and turnovers remained virtually identical to his rookie season. More progress on that front likely could have resulted in a new contract.

Should the Warriors do decide to let go of Smart, it will be interesting to see which direction they go. Given that all three of their best players -- Curry, Ellis and Lee -- are better on offense than defense, whoever it is will have his hands full. The temptation might be to go for a defensive-minded coach, but that could turn into a situation like Terry Porter's tenure in Phoenix, where the mentality didn't necessarily mesh with the pieces on hand. 

More than Xs and Os, though, the Warriors seem to be looking for the right personality and culture fit. The team's new ownership have bent over backwards to connect with the team's fanbase. Does that mean they'll go for a splash hire? Not necessarily, but you can bet whoever is the coach next season will possess a marketability factor.
Posted on: March 17, 2011 1:05 pm

If Smart's not coming back is Curry the reason?

Posted by Royce Young

When Keith Smart was hired before the season, or more specifically promoted from the second seat on the bench after Don Nelson "resigned," it was clear Smart wasn't thought to be the long-term answer.

He was given just a one-year contract and with the Warriors playing better this season but still struggling in a lot of the same old areas, Smart may pay for it. Especially with an ambitious owner breathing down his neck to turn things around now-ish. On top of that, it could be Smart's relationship with the franchise player that does it too. CSN Bay Area has the goods.

When Warriors owner Joe Lacob says publicly at the end of the season he’s not bringing back Keith Smart as coach — which seems very much a foregone conclusion at this point — he’ll certainly have some reasons.

Right at the top of the list will be Smart’s relationship with second-year point guard Stephen Curry. There is no feud, no profanity-laced shouting matches or even any dislike, really. There’s not even really a “problem.”

But something’s amiss between the two. All you have had to do was watch the Warriors all season long and you would have seen it. To say Smart has had Curry on a shorter leash than Don Nelson did a year ago would be an understatement.

Playing is and will always be a coach's greatest weapon and Smart uses that against Curry often. This season, Curry is averaging about three minutes less per game but is scoring better and shooting higher percentages. The problem though is how Curry takes care of the ball and he's made no improvement in that area since last season, still averaging three turns a game. That's what's irking Smart.

Thing is, Curry is your guy. He's The Player. If the Warriors had depth, it wouldn't be as big a deal, but sitting Curry for players way worse isn't a smart thing for Smart (hi-oh!). He's trying to make Curry a better player, but it's all about response and right now, it doesn't appear that Smart is getting through.

The Warriors kind of seem like a franchise that's closing in on something even though they don't know what it is. Owner Joe Lacob keeps talking about trading the team's best players and now it looks like Smart's job could be open. Again, the team's not bad! They still stink defensively, but they rebound and defend just enough to win some games.

The team has already won four more games than last season and honestly, if a strong push is made to end the season the Warriors could flirt with .500. If they were in the East, they could be battling for the six-seed right now. Doesn't sound like that's going to help Smart much though.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com