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Kings coach promotes remodelled side

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016

Most coaches make a point of keeping a lid on all the hype that comes with winning.

Andrew Gaze would normally be no different, but Sydney's rookie coach knew when he took the job that promoting the remodelled Kings at every opportunity was part of the deal.

His only condition was that it didn't affect his or the players' focus on the task of building a winning team.

Early indications are that the Kings have got the balance right after Monday night's 90-73 home win over the Illawarra Hawks kept them on top of the table with a 4-1 record.

"Fortunately we've got some veterans in our group who understand what is the sausage and what is the sizzle, and as long as we understand that we'll be okay," Gaze said.

With a roster that is the envy of virtually every other club, Sydney are being heavily touted as title favourites, especially after the weekend signing of 36-year-old guard Steve Blake, a veteran of 923 NBA games with eight teams.

"It's a pleasant situation to be in right now but we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves," Gaze said.

"There's probably a bit of hype around us right now with the signings we've been able to make, but we've got a long way to go.

"We've had to deal with this in the preseason. Our management said we have to overhype this, that we need to fill this thing [Qudos Bank Arena], that we need to generate hype and excitement. And as a coach, I'm like [takes a deep breath] 'alright'. But I've been around long enough so que sera sera.

"As long as it doesn't impact our training and it doesn't impact our psyche about respecting the opponent and understanding how tough it is, go for it."

The Kings led at every change against the Hawks and were up by as many as 29 in the third quarter.

Brad Newley (20 points) and Kevin Lisch (19) were the standouts for Sydney, while AJ Ogilvy (20) led Illawarra.

Blake is the second player with NBA experience on Sydney's roster after the recent addition of forward Josh Powell.

He arrives on Wednesday and is expected to debut in Kings colours in Sunday's round four home clash with Brisbane.

"He's a smart player who can shoot and distribute the ball, and provided he can play the same sort of defence as Kevin and these other guys, I think we'll be able to incorporate him and it'll be a smooth transition," Gaze said.

"Until you actually get them in your program you never really know."

Since losing at home to Brisbane in round one, Sydney have won four straight over Cairns, New Zealand and Illawarra (twice).

"At times we've been too unselfish with all the extra passes, but that's a problem I'd much rather have than people not passing," Gaze said.

"The potential is there for us to get better. But every team is going to get better and if we don't continue to grow we won't compete for a championship."

The Hawks have slumped to four consecutive losses after a first-round win over Adelaide.

"We're spineless at the moment and I'm really upset because this is not who we truly are," Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge said.

"We need to have a hard look at ourselves."

Ogilvy didn't pull any punches about his team's performance on Monday night.

"In the third quarter we retreated back into our shell instead of standing up like men, and that's what cost us the game," he said.

"Last year we had guys that gave their heart and soul every single game and this year, tonight especially, it's not there. We didn't look like we had the desire.

"Last year we were proud to put on the Illawarra Hawks uniform. This year I don't feel the same about our team."

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