Superstar recruit Andrew Bogut has called for ferocious Sydney Kings training sessions as the perennial under-achievers begin their quest for a first NBL title in 14 years.
The 34-year-old former NBA veteran was a vocal and assertive presence as the Kings' began pre-season training on Monday, making no bones about the need to instil an improved culture in the revamped and star-studded roster from the outset.
"We have got to be competitive practice-wise because the Sydney Kings have absolutely sucked the last couple of years to put it bluntly," said Bogut.
"For us to change the culture we have to go at each other here first.
"After the first two or three weeks, a few little scuffles at practice, guys maybe dlsliking each other on the floor and going at it - that's when you start seeing the true colours come out and we'll address any issue if we have any."
Sydney have made the finals just once in the eight seasons since returning to the NBL and haven't won a title since completing a three-peat in 2005.
But both Bogut and Gaze made it clear winning the title was the goal for the new season.
Along with Bogut, the Kings boast former league MVPs Jerome Randle and Kevin Lisch in their back court plus Boomers stalwarts Brad Newley and Daniel Kickert and only feel the need to take two imports into the season.
Gaze candidly admitted he'd lose his job if the Kings didn't have some measure of success with that squad, though he said that didn't necessarily mean they had to win title for him to keep his job.
" If we fail here, I'll be looking for alternatives, there's no doubt about that and I accept that we've been handed a very, very good roster and we've got to make the most of it,' Gaze said.
He had no qualms about increased extra expectation and pressure on the Kings as a result of Bogut's presence.
"There's huge expectations, but I love it," Gaze said.
'I'd rather have expectations and a good prospect to win than have a situation where you are saying we are going to need all the stars to align for things to go right."
Bogut used Melbourne United's slightly rocky early start to last season as evidence that even championship-winning teams will inevitably experience fluctuating fortunes through a campaign.
"We know we're going to have bumps in the road where we might lose two or three in a row but its how we bounce back from that,' Bogut said.
The end goal for us is making the top four and winning a championship so it doesn't matter how you get there.
"As long as we don't have a bad week turn into a bad month, turn into a bad season we'll be okay."