FORGET the pre-season predictions — the Sydney Kings will finish last if they don’t improve their defence.
That’s the emphatic message from marquee man Andrew Bogut after the Kings suffered a 98-91 loss to Adelaide in the NBL pre-season Blitz at Ballarat on Saturday.
Sydney’s chances of winning a maiden Loggins-Bruton Cup copped a hit with a lacklustre performance against the 36ers.
Bogut was bitterly disappointed post-game, blasting the Kings’ effort as unacceptable.
“We can talk about not making shots but they kicked our arse,” Bogut fired.
“We gave up 98 points when we want to preach about offence.
“If we give up that many points during the season we’ll finish bottom last.
“A lot of guys were all over the place, including myself.
“We didn’t really have a structure or what we were doing or where we were going.
“We all make mistakes, it is part of the game, but they (Adelaide) did a great job of attacking us and putting pressure on the rim the whole game.
“The score line was very respectful for us at the end — we should have lost that game by 20 to 25 points.
“I was horrible but I don’t like what I see right now. Here or anywhere.”
Bogut said the Kings must work out the team’s balance and individual roles to move forward.
He also stressed individual accountability was paramount, especially with the season-opener against Adelaide only 20 days away.
“Guys are still figuring out roles and if they are a scorer or a role guy and until we get that all sorted out we’ll keep having the same conversation,” he said.
“I think it also starts with everyone buying in, myself included.
“We have a lot of work to do. If we think we are just going to stroll around, hit our numbers and individual stats, we are not going to win any games.
“It is just reality of it.”
Despite the loss, Brad Newley continued his strong scoring form to top score for the Kings with 19 points.
Skipper Kevin Lisch added 11 while Deng Deng impressed with 14 points off the bench.
But as Bogut pointed out, it doesn’t matter how many points you score if you don’t defend.
The Kings take on Brisbane in their final pre-season Blitz game on Sunday from 1pm.