The simple answer is yes he can. I have no issue with Smart. I don't think Smart is a real improvement over Paul Westphal which says nothing either man's basketball acumen. Each have plenty of both.
Keith Smart has now taken over a team for the 3rd time after a fairly unique coaching change. The first time was in Cleveland right before the season that ended up netting the Cavaliers the first overall draft choice that became LeBron James. Bad teams are bad teams. That Cavs team stunk. (I actually hadn't realized that Smart was the interim guy in Cleveland. But the focus of this will be on his Golden State days.)
Most people know that Smart was the head coach for the Warriors last season. The Warriors posted a 36-46 record. The Warriors improved slightly in DRtg (29th to 27th) and ORtg (14th to 12th). In otherwords, Smart is not Rick Adelman. But who is?
Dorell Wright had a career year under Smart. Reggie Williams seemed to be fairly successful last season as well. Monta Ellis was slightly more efficient under Smart than Ellis was on the post Baron Davis Don Nelson coached Warrior teams. Ellis also set a career high in total minutes last season while logging the most per game average minute of any player. You can read Zach Lowe's take on Monta Ellis' defense, and judge whether that is on Keith Smart or not.
A Hickory High post regarding Coaching Optimization. (You've probably read this in the past, but read it again if you've forgotten it.) Smart's score is -0.226. Westphal's for the last 2 seasons was: -0.049 (2011) & -0.295 (2010). Take this for what it's worth. (I think it means little either way other than it's some food for thought.)
Is Keith Smart the answer or not? Well, he can't be worse than Paul Westphal. And no complaints can be made about Smart given the circumstances he's been given. The reality is that it still comes back to 2 petulant brats that Smart will be given a chance to coach.
Current Kings’ assistant coach Keith Smart will serve as head coach in tonight’s game versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
This line, as TZ noted at Sactown Royalty, is interesting. Does it mean a new head coach is on the way instead of Smart? Well, all we know is that tonight Smart is the head coach. After tonight? We could get a bigger name, or, more likely, we'll get Smart named as the interim head coach.
I guess that's all there is to say. Good luck Keith; you're going to need it.
Geoff Petrie talks about the hiring of Keith Smart (and a few other things). Via the Sac Bee Blog.
Here is Keith Smart's presser as well.
In case you have any comments about the game during gametime, and before my recap, put them here. I'm not writing a game thread tonight.