Mario Elie Emphasizes Defense and Toughness to Young Sacramento Kings

Jason Coldiron@@tweetme1979Correspondent IJuly 15, 2009

LOS ANGELES - MAY 15:  Assistant coaches PJ Carlisimo, Mario Elie and Mike Budenholzer hold back head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs after a call during Game six of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2004 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2004 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2004 NBAE  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

For the Kings, new assistant coach Mario Elie has been given the responsibility of fixing one of the worst defenses in the league.

 

Elie has come in and immediately stressed the importance of perimeter defense, especially considering the Kings' lack of any true shot-blockers or intimidators down low.

 

"We really don't have shot blockers back there, so we have to depend on our guys up front to handle their business, keep their guys in front," Elie said. "That's something I was really good at so I'm going to try to relay that message come the season." (Sacramento Bee)

 

Elie knows that last season, far too many teams were able to break down the Kings on the perimeter, leaving the team scrambling on defense. This is an area the Kings simply have to improve in.

 

To go along with this, Elie mentioned that the team must also play with some “swagger.” He knows from experience what the team's reputation around the league is.

 

"Anytime I would play against Sac, whether I was a player or a coach, the label on them was 'soft,'" Elie said.

 

The Kings have taken steps toward changing that conception about them through personnel changes.

 

The draft brought tough-minded players Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, and Jon Brockman into the fold.

 

The Kings will attempt to teach these players from the get-go that their performances will be a big part of how the team is viewed in the future.