Strange day at the practice facility today. The screen remained down again, which has become common lately. This means that we didn’t get to watch even a snippet of scrimmage action before we were let in to mingle. Unfortunately, there is an injury to report and then we will get to the quotes.
- Samuel Dalembert- The Kings starting center called the injury right knee tendinitis, but today Coach Westphal passed along the trainers’ diagnosis of a patella tendon injury and said he is doubtful for the next couple of games. According to Coach, if Dalembert cannot go (and you can never discount the possibility that Dalembert would play through the injury) rookie Hassan Whiteside will be recalled from the NBDL for depth. Expect Cousins to replace Dalembert in the starting line-up against the Lakers if Sammy can’t go and expect Darnell Jackson to play solid minutes with Carl Landry off the bench.
Coaches Notes and Quotes:
- Coach Westphal on the loss to the Pacers, a day later: “You don’t want to be a broken record, and at the same time, there were a lot of good minutes of basketball for us last night against a very good team. We had a little lull in the start of the third quarter that everyone could see. Our players could see and feel it and we hate it as much as our fans do when we go through something like that, so we are going to keep trying to put our finger on why we have those lulls of ineffectiveness that keep us from really having a chance to win a share of these games. We feel like we are close. We’re optimistic. We’re frustrated. We’re energized and trying to take this next step. That’s what the practice was about today.”
- On the players getting the playbook down: “I don’t have a big issue with that. There is always a learning curve and everybody has a different learning curve. Our guys have been diligent to try and learn where they are supposed to be. Sometimes you know something and in the heat of battle it slips your mind because it’s not ingrained. That’s more of the kind of thing I’m talking about.”
- On the dark cloud that DeMarcus Cousins talked about from last night’s post game comments: “The way he played last night, I hope he has that dark cloud the rest of his career. Listen, we love DeMarcus and we also understand that because there is great potential, there are great expectations and we’re trying to have his improvement be as rapid as possible and I think he’s trying to have his improvement be more rapid than possible so there is a little frustration there.”
- On the importance of the message remaining consistent: “I think that’s a crucial part of our job, to be consistent and honest, both in praise and helpful insights that will help eliminate mistakes. You don’t want to tell a guy it’s ok to take this shot and if he misses you say it was a bad shot. You want to be consistent and then live with the results and that’s what we are trying to do.”
- On keeping positive, knowing that the team has lost 11 of 12 and faces the Lakers and Dallas in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday night: “We take whatever each day brings. I feel we have a much better shot of beating the Lakers and Dallas this year than we did last year and I felt it could happen last year. It would have been a much bigger upset than it would be this year. We are in a cycle where Pat Riley used to say, you have buzzards luck- you can’t kill anything and nothing will die. Everybody who’s been in this league has gone through stages of buzzards luck and the way to get out of it is to keep fighting.”
- On taking the criticism: “I learned to let things roll off me and the players need to learn that. This league can be a big circus and there is always somebody with an opinion, particularly when they see a team struggling.”
- On Tyreke Evans: “It’s really interesting. The first half of the last two games have been really exceptional for him and then the second half, things didn’t go so well. We’re trying to figure out why that is and I’m sure Tyreke is trying to figure out why that is. You can see that what makes him special is there. One of the most amazing things about him last year was how consistent he was and right now, he’s fighting to be consistent. We’re looking for that to change and I think Tyreke is too.”
- On coaching such a young team: “It’s something we deal with. I actually enjoy it. I don’t enjoy getting beat, but I enjoy the challenge of taking a young group and trying to get them to where they all want to go and it’s called paying your dues. Every person who comes into this league pays their dues sooner or later. This group is paying their dues and learning how to deal with adversity. Some of them will flourish and some of them it will be too much for them. It’s an interesting road and I am optimistic about where it can lead.”
I will have more from practice with Kings guard Beno Udrih tomorrow. For tonight, Coach Westphal has again left us with some information that needs to be chewed on and processed. He is not oblivious or blind to the issues that are costing the team and although the Kings have not taken advantage of a home-heavy schedule early on the season, they have been able to take advantage of the extra practice time that comes with playing at home.