The Sacramento Kings officially added Tyrone Corbin to head coach Michael Malone’s staff Sunday. Corbin, a 16-year NBA forward who played his final game in 2001, boasts a decade of NBA coaching experience including the last four seasons as Jazz head coach.
In a little more than three full seasons on the job, Corbin led Utah to two winning seasons and a playoff appearance but was not retained after a 25-57 campaign last year. Having spent the 2003-04 season with Corbin in New York – Corbin served as manager of player development for the Knicks while Malone was an assistant coach – the Kings head coach has already built a good working relationship with his new assistant.
“Obviously he played 16 years in the NBA, played under some great coaches – Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley, Lenny Wilkens,” said Malone. “And when you play 16 years in the league, you have a certain toughness about you and a certain IQ. The fact that he played under Sloan and coached under Jerry Sloan was very intriguing to me.”
While Corbin assisted Sloan in Utah, he also had the chance to work with Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton. Such associations impressed Malone, he said. He was also attracted to Corbin’s head-coaching experience.
“When my father left, I wanted to bring in another veteran assistant coach, a guy that had been a head coach,” said Malone. “And Tyrone, for me, fills and checks off all the boxes in what I was looking for.”
For his part, Corbin appears just as excited to work with Malone again.
“He’s a great guy,” Corbin said of Malone. “(A) tremendous hard worker, and I always respected that about him. He’s very knowledgeable, very smart guy.”
Corbin expressed enthusiasm about the team’s youth, the offseason moves, Rudy Gay’s return and simply being back with the Kings himself, where he spent parts of two seasons as a player in 1995-96 and 1999-00. As a King, he had the opportunity to play alongside current assistant coach Corliss Williamson and under Kings assistant general manager Mike Bratz who served as an assistant in 1995-96.
“It feels good,” Corbin said of his return to the capital city. “I have a history here. Being now on the bench in Sacramento, I know my way around a little bit. A lot has changed, but I’m excited. The fans have always been tremendous. I’m looking forward to this team to see where we go.”
The newly hired coach has progressively improved, according to Malone, as he’s spent more and more time with a number of his players at Las Vegas Summer League.
“I think in the short amount of time that Tyrone’s been there, he’s shown that he has a grasp of what we’re trying to do, and the more we go through it, the more practices that we have he’s only getting better,” Malone reflected. “So he’ll be better tomorrow, and he’ll be better the day after.”
His hands-on approach with the Kings’ summer league players has also endeared him to Malone.
Corbin, a native of Columbia, S.C., hails from the Deep South, as does the franchise’s cornerstone, DeMarcus Cousins (Mobile, Ala.). “I think they have a pretty good connection early on,” said Malone.
When asked whether he prefers Ty or Tyrone, Corbin joked, “Ty, Tyrone. I’ve been called a lot worse. Either one will work for me.”
At the very least, a youthful Kings roster will have the luxury of calling this NBA lifer “coach” this upcoming season.