The Sacramento Kings are 4-8, have lost three games in a row and rank 29th in defensive efficiency. Worse than that: center DeMarcus Cousins and guard Ty Lawson both called out the team for lollygagging through shootaround after their 110-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
"I think shootarounds, we don't take it serious," guard Lawson said, via the Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones. "We do the same thing, 5-on-0 and our pace is the same way in the game. If we want to change it, we've got to change it ourselves. We've got to take it seriously."
"When we're not in our sets, we're not focused, that falls back to shootarounds and practices," Cousins added. "We B.S. through the 5-on-0 and we come out and do the same thing. We've had after-timeout plays and we come out and don't run it the right way. It's on us."
The early-season struggles in Sacramento are concerning, if not terribly surprising. There is talent on this roster, and despite Cousins playing the best basketball of his career, things are not clicking. The Kings have been a total mess on both ends when Cousins is on the bench, and Dave Joerger's coaching staff still appears to be experimenting with different lineups because of the frontcourt logjam.
Some of Sacramento's problems can be fixed, but the fact that players are openly complaining about a lack of effort and focus is alarming. Part of the reason the Kings signed veterans Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple, Matt Barnes and Anthony Tolliver in the offseason was to get the locker room in order and encourage professionalism. If they don't correct this stuff, then forget about them improving their defense, balancing the rotation and the rest of it.