Kings

Brown’s Player Buy-In Brought Kings Back to Contention

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Head coach Mike Brown changed the culture of the Sacramento Kings.

Before then, it was a long and painful couple of decades for Kings fans. The last time the Kings had stability and sustained success, “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira was playing on radios across the world.

In that same year, Mike Bibby and Bonzi Wells led the Kings in scoring the night they were eliminated from the playoffs. Little did they know, this would begin the longest playoff drought in NBA history.

Last season, Sacramento ended that streak as they finished third in the Western Conference (48-34) and had the best offensive rating in NBA history (119.4).

THE BEGINNING

The 16-season playoff drought ended for multiple reasons, but it started with the head of the snake, Mike Brown. The 2022-23 unanimous Coach of the Year ignited this team and sparked their confidence.

Since the announcement of GM Monte McNair’s decision to hire Brown in May of 2022, this Kings squad has never looked back.

ALL-IN

Every Kings player signed a contract signifying their commitment to being “All In” for each other, their coaches, and themselves.

There were plenty of examples of the Kings’ new and improved mentality:

  • Richaun Holmes stayed even-keeled after getting moved out of the rotation.
  • Alex Len worked hard all year without knowing he’d play meaningful minutes in the playoffs.
  • Terence Davis was a great teammate while battling through inconsistent playing time.
  • The whole roster trusted assistant Jordi Fernandez to take over as head coach the game Mike Brown got ejected.
  • The whole team displayed a “never-give-up” mentality against Warriors in the postseason.

COACHING ADJUSTMENTS

Brown has a history of playing just seven to eight players in the playoffs, especially when he had LeBron James in Cleveland. Here in Sacramento, he’s adjusted to this roster by playing close to ten guys every night.

Defense has been his top priority — and still is — but he keyed in on the other side of the ball last season. He understands how important it is to lean into the offensive prowess of Domantas Sabonis, De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, and newly acquired forward Sasha Vezenkov.

TRUST

Trust is so critical for any type of success in life or on the basketball court. The best work environments allow for autonomy, and Brown has made it clear that every person in the organization has been hired and trusted to do their job.

With the approval of McNair, Brown brought in Jordi Fernandez as the defensive coordinator and Jay Triano to run the offense. Luke Loucks focuses on De’Aaron Fox’s development, and Dutch Gaitley works with rising star Keegan Murray.

The coaching staff is aligned with the front office and players. Being together for a second season should only improve the trust and faith they have in each other.

COACHING EXPERIENCE

  • Assistant coach under Gregg Popovich from 2000-2003 (1 championship)
  • Head coach for Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-2010, 2013-2014 (coached LeBron James)
  • Head coach for Los Angeles Lakers from 2011-2013 (coached Kobe Bryant)
  • Assistant coach under Steve Kerr from 2016-2022 (3 championships)

Brown has taken bits and pieces from his 25 years of experience in the NBA and adapted his coaching style to fit the team’s current roster and style.

LOVE FOR MIKE BROWN

Mike Brown’s player-first coaching style and genuine personality were apparent from day one. Northern California finally has a coach and a team they can love again. The Beam Team is here to stay. 

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About Zach Schmidt

Business student from Sacramento with a passion for sports.

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