Last night, camp began with a Q&A with Geoff Petrie, followed by two hours of viewing time during the team’s scrimmage. We have seen more basketball action in the first two days of camp this season than all 20-plus days of last season combined. I like the policy change.
- No injuries to report. There were some ice bags being handed out, but no injuries to report.
Coaches Notes and Quotes
- Coach Paul Westphal on the three-guard set the team ran Sunday in practice (Jimmer Fredette, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton): “It really worked well. At one point, they ran off 12 or 15 points in a row. If they can pick up some steals…we were picking up full court, we’re going to do a lot more of that this year, picking up full court, creating some turnovers and early shots. They got out and they were explosive so that’s a combination that can be real effective.”
- Westphal on the young players: “I thought they looked the best out of anybody. Whiteside has his moments, and Jimmer and Isaiah and Tyler were excellent.”
- Westphal on Hassan Whiteside: “He still has a long way to go. He had some nice moments, but he is still a young, inexperienced player and he’s got a lot to learn. He’s got some things that you can’t teach as far as shot blocking and offensive rebounding. He’s a worthwhile project.”
- Westphal on how John Salmons is fitting in: “I think he’s been doing an outstanding job. He’s a real pro. He knows where he’s supposed to be and why and he’s helping the other guys. He’s been real good at both ends.”
Players Notes and Quotes
- Isaiah Thomas on what Coach Westphal has asked of him: “To play hard and come in and bring energy. That’s what I’m going to do. Whether it’s score for myself or make plays for my teammates, I’m just going to do what I can to help the team win. That’s my job.”
- Thomas on his defense: “I’m an alright defender. I’m a lot quicker than a lot of the other guys and I can use that to my advantage on the defensive end.”
Coach Westphal tried a lot of different looks today. We got to see a three-guard set with Jimmer, Tyreke and Thornton with Cousins paired with various bigs. It was extremely successful on both ends of the floor. While the three guards played well off each other on the offensive end, they successfully used a press to disrupt their opponents on the defensive end. Here are a couple of my observations.
- Jimmer, Honeycutt and Thomas are quickly getting acclimated to the NBA game. While Honeycutt struggled to make an impact early in practice, he really came on strong, hitting a couple of three pointers and crashing the boards hard. Honeycutt is also showing his defensive prowess against his new teammates. Jimmer already looks like a rotational player at the NBA level, while Thomas is going to have to fight hard for minutes in a crowded backcourt.
- Francisco Garcia looks like he is in great shape. The Kings’ longest tenured player still has great range and flew in for a couple of nice blocks on defense.
- J.J. Hickson is a very hard worker. Last season it was Carl Landry who stuck around for hours working on his game after practice. So far this season, that player is Hickson. The last two days, Hickson has worked with Keith Smart, one of the Kings three new assistant coaches. Between post moves and pull up jumpers, Hickson has been the last guy on the court the first two days of camp.
- Chuck Hayes fouls hard. The Kings newest free agent acquisition clearly does not believe in taking it easy on anyone. If you come inside on the 2011-12 Sacramento Kings, count on feeling the pain.
- The rotation is quickly taking shape. Tyreke, Thornton, Salmons, Cousins and Hayes are the starters. Jimmer, Garcia, Hickson, Donté Greene and Jason Thompson are the second unit. Honeycutt, Thomas and Whiteside are all looking safe right now, but that could change quickly if an opportunity to improve the roster presents itself.
- According to Petrie, the team might still be in the market for a reserve point guard and possibly another big man. The Kings are approximately $1-million below the minimum salary cap mark and although the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones said he would accept that money, it will probably be used to make one last improvement to the team. When asked whether the Kings would consider using even more than the million the team is required to spend, Geoff Petrie intimated that they would if the right piece was available. They have a proposal on the table to an unknown player and the team will look closely at players who have and will be amnestied as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Video recap includes quotes from Westphal, Salmons, Thomas, Hickson and Honeycutt, along with some footage from last night’s scrimmage.