A day after the Golden State Warriors’ championship show in San Francisco, Mike Brown appeared 90 miles over Interstate 80 on Tuesday, working as the new head coach for the Sacramento Kings.
“I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying that,” Brown said, sitting next to Kings general manager and chief of basketball operations Monty McNair during his inaugural press conference. “I really couldn’t come as I wanted because of this press conference today.”
Although his celebration was subdued after his third title in his six years as an assistant to Golden State, Brown said he was happy to discuss his fourth training opportunity after two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and one with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The potential is here, I really think the potential is off the charts,” he said. “It makes me excited to think about it… the players here, I’m excited about them.
“There are a lot of opportunities here for this place to explode, and I want to be a part of it.”
There is no place for kings to go but to ascend.
Sacramento has not qualified for the postseason since 2006, finishing last in the Pacific Division in seven of those 16 years. The Kings went 30-52 this past season, firing Luke Walton mid-season and then firing Alvin Gentry from his temporary position after they finished 25th in offensive efficiency and 27th in defensive efficiency.
Brown spoke about the drought on Tuesday.
“There is no elephant in the room,” he said. “You can talk about it. We’ll embrace that. I’m not coming here to have fun, get excited, join the territory. I’m coming here to win. So we’ll embrace whatever’s in front of us that talks about winning, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Brown, who accepted the position while the Warriors were midway through the second round of the playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies, said he was “deeply involved” in taking over the Kings while still finishing the Warriors championship series. On Tuesday, he revealed the majority of his coaching staff, hiring Jordi Fernandez of the Denver Nuggets, Jay Triano of the Charlotte Hornets, Luke Locks of the Phoenix Suns, and Doug Christie, one of the former Kings’ superstars he played against in college.
“I’ve spoken to every player on several occasions,” Brown said. “I spoke to them in person some of them. I spoke to them on Zoom. I also spoke to them on Zoom, I spoke to them on Zoom, and I spoke to them on the phone a few times. And obviously Monty’s wife, she’s a wonderful lady, but every now and then you might get a little mad at him because I think He answers my calls more than hers.”
He said he took a day off between the conference finals and the NBA finals to fly to San Diego and see the point guard. Diaron Fox work out. He calls him “Foxy,” a nickname he gave him in high school when he coached him at a basketball camp.
“Obviously I walked away impressed by his speed, but I thought he was a defensive dog,” Brown said of Fox. “So there will be a lot of pressure on him, and not from anyone else, to get back to what I know he can do at this level day and night.”
Brown said the Warriors’ defensive success last season despite having players with a limited defensive reputation shows what the Kings can do to that end.
“People look at Steve Curry, [Nemanja Bjelica]Otto Porter Jordan PaulAnd the [Andrew] Brown said: Wiggins in Minnesota, I mean I could go down the line of guys that we had with the Warriors and people didn’t think they could defend. And somehow, we ended up with defense number 2 in the league. Now, will we be that next year? I don’t know. Mostly not. It will be practical. But I’m excited about all these guys.”
Brown also mentioned Davion MitchellAnd the Harrison BarnesAnd the Dumantas Sabonis And the Richawn Holmes During the press conference, as well as the Kings’ No. 4 selection in the NBA Draft Thursday, as reasons to cheer about the team’s future.
“I’m excited to be here in Sacramento,” Brown said. “I have a lot of friends who live like this. Nobody ever told me anything or said anything bad about the area. It was always a positive. And that was even before I got the job. So, I’m excited to be here… What is it? Sactown.” Sacto. Sac. The Big Tomato, something like that. There are a lot of different nicknames.”