WASHINGTON -- It's not the Princeton offense. Kings coach Reggie Theus made that clear the other day.
A reporter in Philadelphia asked how many offensive principles he adopted from former Kings assistant and Princeton legend Pete Carril, and Theus was quick to answer, "None."
But it's not, as Theus pointed out, "brain surgery" either. And as this five-game trip heads closer to the Princeton campus in New Jersey with Tuesday's game against the Nets, what better time for the Kings to continue improving their offensive flow?
A mini-milestone recently was reached, as the Kings finally crawled out of the league's assist cellar. They now rank 29th in assists per game (17.3) after spending most of the season ranked 30th, albeit a mere tenth better than the New York Knicks. And while they managed just 79 points against Washington on Saturday, they finished with 20 assists, as they had in three of the previous four games. It's no small feat for this group that has struggled so mightily to play simple team basketball, as they tallied 20-plus assists just twice in their first 18 games.
Theus said the performance against the Wizards was more about missing shots than forcing them. The progress, even with the latest loss, has pleased him.
"We weren't as good as (the Friday win at Philadelphia), but we had good spacing in a lot of scenarios, and we've just got to continue to get better," Theus said. "It's just one of those games where they made shots and we didn't."
Theus said he has had to be more specific about what he wants on the floor, all in an attempt to emphasize even the more elementary concepts.
"The other day at practice (in Sacramento), I just decided that we would go back to the ABCs," he said. "The ball goes in here, I want you here, I want you over here, you here, and from there we go here. I just walked them through exactly what needed to happen when the ball was in certain spots on the floor."
Center Brad Miller said the team's offensive movement has improved from the early season, but the Kings now must find a way to take good shots on nearly every possession. The Kings shot 43.3 percent in Saturday's loss.
"Our main problem when we lose is just shooting too many jump shots," he said. "We've just got to get to the hole, get to the line. We fall in the rut. I don't know why we do it. We didn't share the ball (against Washington) like we do in games we win, and that's usually what gets us every time."