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The biggest mistake Sacramento can make at this point is blowing everything up prematurely.
While there are some changes that should be made around the margins, the Kings have one of the best young cores in the league. Look for McLemore to take on a bigger role next season, and look for the triad of Cousins-Gay-Thomas to continue developing into All-Star caliber talent. There are no guarantees in this business, but it's awfully hard to imagine this group taking a step back.
Chemistry is a good thing, and it doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes it takes years to develop in full, and it arguably never stops developing.
Who better to break down Sacramento's emerging core than head coach Mike Malone? Suffice it to say, he likes what he sees, according to Basketball Insiders' Bill Ingram:
I’m not even sure of the exact record, but I know we’ve shown the ability to be a great competitor and beat a lot of the best teams in the NBA when those guys are all playing. When they play at a high level, three 20-point scorers, we become very hard to guard because you have a low-post force, a wing with the versatility and athleticism that Rudy has and a point guard in Isaiah who can score, get to the foul line and make plays for his teammates. Not that many teams have that three-headed attack. It’s great to have and hopefully we’ll be able to keep those together because with that core you add some pieces to that and you allow Ray [McCallum] and Ben [McLemore] to continue to mature and get better and I think we have a solid foundation. Those guys, offensively, are terrific and they’re getting better defensively.
There's really nothing keeping this team from scoring at a Rockets or Clippers-like pace in another season or two. The pieces are all there. It's just a matter of them gelling and dictating tempo.
It's also a matter of them "getting better defensively," as Malone puts it. While peripheral adjustments to the roster could help on the defensive end, the biggest difference may simply come as this unit learns to play with one another.
Getting stops isn't just about having stoppers around. It's also a function of timing, understanding rotations and knowing when and how much to help. These things are learned, so, to some degree, we just have to be patient and hope the message sinks in.
The Kings have to be tougher and quicker defensively, but—more than anything—they have to be smarter. That entails a broader cultural change on a team that simply hasn't prioritized the defensive end in a long, long time.
The mistake would be confusing a cultural change with making serious alterations to this roster's core. One need not imply the other.