Keith Smart has seemed to make a connection with the Kings players.
That has not translated to winning yet — since he took over and the team has gone 10-18. But you are seeing better energy and play out of DeMarcus Cousins, you are seeing better defense, you’re seeing a respectable team starting to form. Paul Westphal had lost the Kings, Smart has their attention.
So the Kings are going to keep Smart around. That’s what co-owner Joe Maloof told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
“Yes,” Maloof said emphatically when asked if Smart’s option would be picked up. “With no disrespect to our past coaches, we really have someone who everybody likes now. The players like him, the basketball staff likes him, we trust him, and he knows the game. Keith Smart is a wonderful coach, and we’re lucky to have him. … Yes, we’ll pick it up. We want him to be our coach forever.”
Smart deserves the break. He was hired to take over in Golden State right as an ownership change was taking place that forced Don Nelson out. He was in a no man’s land — he was the coach but not the choice of the new front office. He guided the Warriors to a 36-46 record – about exactly what should have been expected out of the roster he was given — then was fired to make way for Mark Jackson.
Then he’s an assistant in Sacramento who gets thrust into the head coaching job following players having tuned out the last coach and the franchise threatening to move. He’s done a good job and with the Kings looking like they are staying in Sacramento Smart deserves the chance to see what he can do with a full season. Looks like he’ll get it.