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Offseason Chronicles: Summer League

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Offseason Chronicles: Summer League

In the final segment of a three-part series, get a look ahead as Coach Keith Smart discusses his preparation and goals for the team at Las Vegas Summer League.

Whomever the Sacramento Kings select in the 2012 NBA Draft on June 28, will have few days to wait to first don the team’s purple and black.

After a one-year hiatus, NBA Summer League will return to Las Vegas for another season of action as the Kings, their newest Draft picks and current young talent are expected to participate.

This year’s event will take place July 13-22 at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion. With five games apiece, the 2010 Las Vegas Summer League featured 18 NBA teams and a D-League Select Team.

While much of the team’s upcoming schedule is focused on Draft preparation, Kings Coach Keith Smart has experience making the most of the short window between player selections and the on-set of summer contests.

“(I start preparing for Summer League) right after the Draft,” said the Kings coach, who plans to attend Sacramento’s sixth Summer League go-round in Las Vegas. “You have a list of players that you want to look at to bring to Summer League. Then, once you have your Draft picks and all that, you start putting together your Summer League team.”

While a Kings assistant coach will lead the exhibition squad, Smart is a veteran of the 10-day stage.

“I coached Summer League in Cleveland and Golden State,” he said. “I coached it where we alternated coaches, I coached where we had two coaches, I coached where we had one guy just trying to get a feel for coaching – we had a player who coached it one time to get him to learn how to understand how to coach other players.”

Designed to maximize player development, Summer League has different rules than NBA regular-season games, including four 10-minute quarters and players fouling out on their 10th personal foul rather than their sixth infraction. Rosters for teams are also increased, as the Kings had 16 players on their 2010 Summer League roster, four of whom came from either the regular-season roster or 2010 Kings Draft class.

According to Smart, the key to achieving success in Summer League is to strike a balance between entering new players into the team’s system and developing players currently on Sacramento’s roster.

“You try to get them to carry over what you want them to do in the season. Then, you try to get your young players, put them in a great position to play and have success,” said Smart. “We’ve had a lot of success with playing in Summer League, getting off to good starts and having guys playing hard to get ready.

“You want to showcase the guys you want to see playing next year,” he added. “You want them to get a jump for next year.”

In case you missed it, gain more insight from Smart in the “Offseason Chronicles” series on by checking out Part One and Part Two.

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