Everyone on the Kings is held accountable, even the head coach.
Sacramento big man Domantas Sabonis offered Mike Brown a reminder of that during the Kings' 124-111 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at Target Center, questioning the coach's play-calling at halftime of the NBA In-Season Tournament game.
After the victory, Brown hilariously described the interaction with his NBA All-Star center.
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"One thing I would say is we ran that high pick-and-roll action, double-high pick-and-roll action with [De'Aaron] Fox I don't know how many times in the second half," Brown told reporters. "It was funny because at halftime, I didn't think we were defending at the level we're capable of, and so I'm talking about defense, defense, defense, defense, because we're shooting 56 percent from the field in the first half; we scored 70 points.
"Domas said, 'Coach, what about that play that we spent 20 minutes on? We spent 20 minutes on this play and you don't even call it one time.' I said, 'Domas, you're right. You're 100 percent right. I'll call a play, but we scored 70 points and we're shooting 56, 57 percent from the field.' And he goes, 'OK, I got you defensively.' And I said, 'OK, get me defensively and I'll call the play.'
"And I don't know how many times -- I probably called the play 10 times, at least. So after the game, I asked him, I said, 'Domas, did I call the play enough for you?' He said, 'Yes, Coach.' I said, 'Thanks for holding me accountable.' "
Brown has been known to hit stars like Sabonis and Fox with tough love during games and practices, but it's clear the coach can accept some constructive criticism thrown his way, too. Brown went on to call the play 17 times in the second half after his conversation with Sabonis, per user @SacFilmRoom on X, formerly known as Twitter.
If it isn't broke, don't fix it. And if they can't stop it, keep calling it.
The halftime interaction between Sabonis and Brown on Friday further illuminated how the second-year Sacramento coach has shifted the Kings' culture and developed an incredible chemistry with players up and down the lineup, who clearly feel comfortable enough to speak their minds freely in front of him.
It isn't the first time Brown has had to answer to his team, either. The Kings comically fined their coach $20,000 last season for being late to games -- just one of many ways they have returned the favor for Brown's militant-like coaching style.
As the Kings look to build upon their first NBA playoff appearance in 16 years last season, that chemistry has helped them go undefeated so far during In-Season Tournament play. They could clinch the tournament's West Group C bracket with a win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday at Golden 1 Center -- and Brown certainly will consider calling Sabonis' new favorite play.