Tuesday was the first official practice since the season began. Coach Westphal ran a nice scrimmage, which ended with Hassan Whiteside burying an 18 foot jump shot to the cheers of his teammates. The team looked loose and ready to take on the world champion Lakers in Wednesday’s match-up at Arco Arena.
Injury Report: Nothing to report.
Coaches Notes and Quotes:
- Westphal on the Lakers: “The Lakers are the world champs and they’ve improved themselves. It’s certainly a big test for everybody.”
- On the match-up problems against the Lakers: “We certainly have more inside presence than we’ve had. But the Lakers have size at every position and that makes it difficult. They’ve improved their depth quite a bit and they seem to be the team that everyone is picking and rightfully so.”
- On playing Carl Landry at the three against a team like the Lakers: “No, not really. We don’t really see Carl as a three too much.”
- On Jason Thompson as a three: “We actually played JT at the three a little bit and I liked it. We worked him in practice some so as the season unfolds, we might see that a bit.”
- On the slow starts: “You have to play with 48 minutes of intensity and I think that maybe we’re afraid of fouling, maybe we’re easing into the flow of the game. Whatever it is, maybe it takes a little while to figure it out or to believe the scouting report.”
- On who is stepping up as the leader of this team: “I think we have a lot of players who are leading in certain ways. Everybody’s engaged. You can say sometimes it’s Beno, sometimes it’s Cisco. Samuel Dalembert certainly changed two games for us with his rebounding and defense. Darnell Jackson. Donté Greene, he hasn’t been playing but he’s cheering for his teammates and then Tyreke is leading by example and Carl’s in there. I’m leaving someone out- Omri for example. You see how intense he is- even if he doesn’t say a word, that’s leadership. So that is what you are looking for in a team- people who are engaged and communicating. People who care.”
- On who should be the starter- Cousins or Dalembert: “I don’t see any big reason to change things right now.”
- On the crowd at Arco on Tuesday night against the Raptors picking up the team: “It goes together. When the team plays well the fans get more into it. When the fans get more into it, the team plays better. It is one of the goals of rebuilding this team, to make that gym the craziest place in the NBA again. I think that the Sacramento fans have proven that they want that and they care about this team and it goes hand in hand.”
I have a few videos to share from this afternoon. The first video is of Tyreke Evans shooting baseline threes with former Kings player Bobby Jackson. He has developed a very consistent stroke through hard work and good coaching.
Evans has really improved his stroke from distance and it has shown both in practice and the games so far this season.
The next clip is of DeMarcus Cousins being interviewed by a group of reporters. He has some good things to say and honestly, he is a fun guy to sit back and watch. His facial expressions are a crack-up, and by his answers you can tell he understands some of his deficiencies and that he is working to improve them.
This last video is for all of you long time Kings fans. Bobby Jackson came out today in basketball gear and showed that he still has it. He even grabbed Rob Small from Crowned Hoops and dragged him out there to be his ball boy, which is a moment Rob will never forget.
Bobby works in the Kings front office now, but he was a mainstay all throughout camp, working with players like Pooh Jeter and Tyreke Evans on mid-range jump shots and using screens effectively.
I will have my game preview up and ready before noon. Look for that and Wednesday night’s post-game recap against the Lakers.