Kings coach Malone can relate to Sixers

Kings head coach Michael Malone. (Matt Slocum/AP)

LIKE BRETT Brown, Sacramento Kings coach Michael Malone was a longtime NBA assistant before getting his first chance to lead a team this season.

Like Brown, Malone took over a program that is looking to change its identity.

Like Brown, Malone never thought it was going to be this hard to endure.

Malone has been in the league since 2001, with the New York Knicks, Cleveland, New Orleans and Golden State. He was on the bench when LeBron James led the Cavaliers to 66 wins (2008-09) and an NBA Finals appearance in 2007. He has been a part of a lot of winning in the league, and now is grappling with the ways of losing.

"I knew full well when I signed up that this was going to be a process," said Malone, who was rumored to be a candidate for the Sixers position, though he never interviewed. "I said all along that this year would not be about wins and losses. It's about trying to change a culture and instill a foundation and an identity. Going through it is not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. When that jump ball goes up your competitive nature takes over and if you're a coach or a player, you hate to lose. But when you step back and realize the big picture and say, 'I knew what I was getting myself into.' "

Though their win totals are about the same, Malone's team is a bit farther along in the rebuild than Brown's. The Kings have Rudy Gay, a veteran star in the league, and DeMarcus Cousins, a rising star. Should they choose to give him the money after this season, Isaiah Thomas is turning into a solid NBA point guard. There are pieces, but still a lot of work ahead. Something we here in Philly know a lot about.

"Winning cures a lot of ills during the NBA season," Malone said. "I knew what I was in for and I'm ready for that challenge."

Sound familiar?

On Twitter: @BobCooney76