The surprise firing of coach Michael Malone has casual NBA fans and basketball geeks alike turning their attention to Sacramento.

The Kings, who haven't made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, weren't off to a terrible start. Powered by the play of Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento was 11-13 and half a game out of the playoff picture at the time of Malone's firing.

But the front office wanted change, and apparently it has some intriguing new ideas it would like it's next coach to implement.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski writes that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has been advocating the team try a 4-on-5 defensive scheme where four players play defense and one stands on the other end of the court, essentially a cherry picker.

Malone wasn't so hot on the idea, but Wojnarowski writes that "some semblance" of that plan may be employed by interim head coach Tyrone Corbin.

That Ranadive wanted to try this 4-on-5 strategy is nothing new, and it's all a part of the plan for his team to play position-less basketball.

While some see this as another owner meddling in his team's Xs and Os, Ranadive does have some success in the coaching sphere. Employing innovative schemes, Ranadive coached his daughter's youth squad on a surprising run to the national championships. Ranadive's success was documented by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker.

The Kings' D-League team is already engaging in experimental basketball. Ranadive hired David Arseneault Jr., the former Grinnell coach whose teams routinely shot as many three-pointers as possible, to coach the Reno Bighorns. Under Arsenealt's watch, the Bighorns are taking an up-tempo approach and pressing the entire game. Reno currently leads the D-League in scoring, averaging 140.1 points. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers are second, averaging 118.4 points. Reno is 4-4 and in third place in its division.

While it's still early in the search, George Karl has been tabbed by many as the favorite to replace Malone. With 986 regular-season wins, Karl is the seventh winningest NBA coach of all time. How will he take to Ranadive's experimental approach? What might he do with a talented roster that started the season 9-5 before a 2-8 slump prompted in part by an illness contracted by Cousins?

Basketball fans, and especially the sport's growing community of statheads, wait with anticipation.

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