Sacramento Kings Owner: 'We Want to Be Like the Spurs, but Exciting'

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 29, 2014

Nov 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

For Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive, the blueprint to sustained NBA success has already been drawn up—but it could use some more color.

"We want to be like the [San Antonio] Spurs, but exciting," Ranadive told Truehoop's Jared Dubin. "We want to create a winning franchise that is a perennial contender, and we also want a strong defense, combined with up-tempo play."

His Kings seem to be getting the exciting part down.

Sacramento is tied for 13th in scoring (101 points per game), thanks in large part to the 62.9 points supplied by Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins on a nightly basis. With an offensive arsenal built around athleticism and versatility, this is one of the league's most entertaining attacks when it's clicking on all cylinders.

That didn't happen by accident. It's all part of Ranadive's visionary idea for how to run his team.

"I want to basically play a new brand of position-less basketball," he said. "I want to have these super-athletic, young guys that can run and feel out the game. Guys like Rudy Gay, and Derrick Williams, these are guys who can play the 1-2-3-4 positions."

OK, so maybe this isn't quite visionary. Swap out "young" for "experienced" and change the names, and this sounds an awful lot like Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's "position-less" system.

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Of course, some of the best ideas in sports are borrowed ones. And if you're going to mimic another franchise, why not try to emulate the two most recent NBA finalists?

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 18: Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs talks to LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals on June 18, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
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Finding the right philosophy is the easy part, though. Transplanting that from an intangible approach to a tangible gain in the standings is the challenge.

The Kings have the third-worst record in the Western Conference (25-47) and seventh-lowest winning percentage in the NBA (.347). Ranadive can aim for the stars, but he needs to get this group off the ground first.

"There's work to be done on offense but I think we've made progress," he said, per Dubin.

There's also the matter of fixing the opposite end. The Kings rank tied for 23rd in defensive efficiency (106.1 points allowed per 100 possessions), worlds removed from those boring old Spurs (99.9, fourth).

The last time the Spurs visited Sacramento, they were plagued by an offense that was neither productive nor exciting. And they still beat the Kings—by 20 points (99-79 on March 21).

"They just keep at it for 48 minutes," Kings coach Michael Malone said, via Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press, "and that's why I think that they are the favorite to win the NBA championship."

Favorites to win the title, huh? Sounds pretty exciting to me.

Before Ranadive worries about flash, he might want to think about function first. He might figure out what the Spurs already have—style has a way of following substance.


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