In the second segment of a three-part series, learn more about the days that follow the end of the season for Coach Keith Smart and his research for the upcoming NBA Draft.
After the final buzzer sounded on Sacramento’s 113-96 rout of L.A. on April 26, the 2011-12 Kings season came to a conclusion. In the days following, many of the team’s coaches and players took off for a short break before beginning offseason training.
Kings Coach Keith Smart, however, is still in town. Even though the last postgame press conference has wrapped and the locker room has been cleaned out, the duties of an NBA head coach remain plentiful in the offseason.
“(The team) will break (but) I normally stay around for a while,” says Smart. “I’ll go through all of our games. I’ve done that every year, and it takes me about 10 days to go through (all of our) games and coverages and things like that. Then, I’ll go to the offensive side and look at all the plays that I ran for certain guys.”
While the Kings coach will be busy breaking down game tape from the season, he wants his assistants, many of whom spend the year away from their families, to get a break before the grind of the offseason begins.
“I want those guys to get away because I’ve been in that role as an assistant, and you help with film all the time, scout multiple teams,” discloses Smart. “They need to get away, go back to their families, take off, and when we start bringing guys back in for pre-Draft workouts, they’ll come back in town.”
The time in between the final game of the season and the NBA Draft Lottery also gives Smart a chance to evaluate some of the top college players eligible for this year’s Draft, many of whom the Kings coach has yet to see play.
“You ask me about a college player (during the season), I’m like, ‘What? Who?’” says Smart. “You know the names but you haven’t seen them, so I start looking at film of different players.”
After reviewing footage of some of the marquee Draft prospects, Smart begins combing through film in search of a possible diamond in the rough.
In previous years, Sacramento has had great success in picking seemingly unknown players from small colleges or international clubs, including Jason Thompson (Rider), Kevin Martin (Western Carolina), Hedo Turkoglu (Turkey) and Peja Stojakovic (Greece).
With the Draft Lottery set for the end of the month, the Kings only know now that their First-Round pick will land between 1-8 on May 30.
In case you missed it, check out Part One of the “Offseason Chronicles” series. Plus, stay tuned for more insight from Smart on Kings.com Thursday.