Much earlier in the season, most teams go to a set rotation — guys know pretty much how many minutes they will get a night, when then will get rest, when they are going to come off the bench and so on. There are variations, but the outline is in place.
Not so much in Sacramento.
Even this late in the season Keith Smart is experimenting, tweaking and going nightly with what he thinks works rather than a pattern. Smart’s moves often seem a reaction to the other coach’s proactive moves, not trying to create an advantage for himself. Why did DeMarcus Cousins play just seven minutes Friday night?
“It’s just tough as a player,” starting point guard Isaiah Thomas said following Friday night’s loss to the Mavericks. “I always say that when you have inconsistent minutes, you’re going to have inconsistent production.
“It’s nothing we can control,” Thomas continued. “It’s how coach Smart likes to coach and you just got to go with it and always be ready at all times, because you never really know when you’re going to go in the game or come out…”
“A little bit, it’s a little frustrating,” Tyreke Evans said when asked if Smart’s rotations were wearing on him. “Everybody’s frustrated. This is the NBA and when the rotation don’t go right for us, we’ve got to be professional. We’ve got to learn to hear our coach. If he don’t make the right subs with somebody, you can’t be mad. Whoever’s out there just got to work.”
It may be frustrating but it almost certainly will not be an issue next year. No matter what happens with the team’s ownership or where they are playing next season — Sacramento or Seattle — there will be sweeping changes in the front office and likely with that in the coaching ranks. The only question is when (not long after the new owners get control) but not if.