When the screen lifted today, the Kings were playing a five on five scrimmage. Both Tyreke Evans and Samuel Dalembert sat out to rest up for tomorrow while Antoine Wright and Luther Head missed practice due to personal reasons. It should be noted that neither Head nor Wright will be active tomorrow night and they will be replaced on the roster by rookies Pooh Jeter and Hassan Whiteside.
Coach Westphal used a line-up during the scrimmage that he mentioned yesterday he was hoping to use. Don’t be shocked to see DeMarcus Cousins, Darnell Jackson and Jason Thompson playing together off the bench as a big, powerful unit. You will see the comment below, but Coach Westphal is excited to use Jason Thompson in as many ways as possible. There will be games where he will play the small forward, power forward and center position.
Coaches Notes and Quotes:
- On Tyreke Evans’ ability to practice today: “He was able, but I was unwilling to have him do anything where he might step on somebody so he just did a lot of shooting and five-on-0 drills.”
- On Jason Thompson playing the three: “JT is working at the three spot a lot today and I think there are a lot of circumstances where we will see him play there.”
- On Rudy Gay coming off a summer with Team USA: “I think what seems to be the recurring theme with those players comments is how hard the best players in the world work and they can see it, up close. And also, the nature of that team is almost every player is a role player on our national team. Even though you are a star on your own team, you become a role player on that team, unless you’re Kevin Durant. I think that just improves people’s all around game. It improves their approach, their appreciation for their teammates and their appreciation for the little things that you have to do to be a good team.”
- On whether he was disappointed that Tyreke Evans didn’t get the opportunity to get the team USA experience: “Things work out. It gave him a chance to rest. That ankle may have been a problem if he would have continued to try and play through it. I don’t really look back at it with regret other than to say that anytime you have a chance to play for your country, it’s a nice honor and you want to make it happen.”
- On the importance of getting Dalembert and Evans acclimated to each other during practice: “It’s every team’s goal to have everybody as familiar as possible. Unfortunately, we have had to do a lot of these things on the fly, so the more health we have the better.”
- On stabilizing the line-up this season: “I definitely want to stabilize things and I think we are a long way down the road being able to do that. I said the other day that I hope we don’t have to change the line-up anymore. Last year I never thought we wouldn’t have to change the line-up a lot because we had too many unknown quantities. I think that we are learning pretty well about who these guys are and how they fit together.”
- On Donté Greene and his place on this team: “Right now, to give a short answer, he is probably the 11 or 12 man on a 9 or 10 man rotation. That doesn’t mean that is a death sentence and it doesn’t mean that it will be that way forever, but he is a young player and he’s a versatile young player and he has a lot of ability and a lot of potential, but he’s got a few guys ahead of him right now- that’s all.”
- On Donté Greene’s lack of play being a function of his conditioning: “Everybody has a responsibility to be in the best shape that they can possibly be in. To answer that question, it sounds like he’s not playing because he’s not in top shape. Donté’s in good shape, but there are players ahead of him, that’s all.”
- On Cousins’ move to the bench: “I don’t think he’s moving to the bench, I think he’s moving to more minutes because of the way the game flows. I think we’re giving him an opportunity to stay out of foul trouble and be aggressive and I think it’s a good time for our team to make this move right now.”
I thought this was a very good day for not only good coaches comments but great interview questions by the handful of media members present. Hats off to Kings marketing intern, Nate Rose, for asking the Donté Greene question and subsequent follow-up question. There may have been a dramatic pause or two mixed in with those answers by Coach Westphal.
Look for the second installment of Coach Jim Eyen with The Purple Panjandrum, which should be up later tonight. Coach Eyen talks Dalembert, Cousins and Evans from the perspective of the defensive end. Good stuff in there for sure.