When new Kings general manager Monte McNair was introduced to the media earlier this week, one of the first things he did was confirm that head coach Luke Walton will remain in his current position for the 2020/21 season, as we relayed on Wednesday.
While McNair admitted he had no preexisting relationship with Walton, he told reporters – including Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee – that the two men have a number of mutual friends and have been in contact within the last few days. McNair added that he has heard “great things” about the Kings’ head coach and is “really excited” to begin working with him.
McNair’s introductory press conference didn’t include any bombshells, but Sacramento’s new head of basketball operations shared a few more interesting observations and comments about the club. Here are a few highlights from the former Rockets executive, as detailed in a pair of Sacramento Bee articles by Anderson:
On whether he intends to push for a playoff spot or take a step back in the Kings’ rebuilding process:
“I think our goal is going to be to compete hard and start building these winning habits. We need to be more consistent and going forward we’re going to maintain our flexibility. Obviously we want to compete for the playoffs but we know we have some work to do, so my goal is to keep that flexibility and be aggressive whenever the time comes to improve the team.
“In Houston I learned a lot. We went through many different stages and ultimately became a contender, so I’ll learn from that. I think No. 1, we have to stay flexible and we can’t pigeonhole ourselves. There are a lot of ways to improve the team and what we need to do is be ready for whatever the opportunity and whenever it arises so we can capitalize.”
On the style of play he envisions for the Kings:
“I think (De’Aaron Fox‘s) speed and ability offensively to create really is going to be a huge catalyst for how Coach Walton and I envision this team being up tempo, creating the space to shoot threes and attack the rim, and I think we’re excited to get going on that.
“… I think in Houston, obviously, we pushed some things to the extreme. That was partly due to our personnel there. There are some tenets that will apply here. We’re definitely going to play fast. We’re going to space the floor. But there’s a lot of versatility and talent on this roster, so I think that will dictate how we build the team.”
On Joe Dumars’ new role as the Kings’ chief strategy officer:
“Joe’s going to assist (team owner) Vivek (Ranadive) in all aspects of the organization – business, basketball … I was hired to be head of basketball operations. That’s what I’m going to do. But Joe’s been a great player on the court. He’s been a general manager and he’ll be a great resource for me.”
On Buddy Hield, who has been the subject of trade speculation:
“I think we all know in this league spacing is of the utmost importance and Buddy is one of the absolute elite shooters in this league, and we’re going to be able to utilize that skill set as we implement our system.”