Yesterday was a disappointing day at the practice facility. Media availability changed from evening sessions to morning sessions for Monday and Tuesday, leaving us with a front row seat to an empty gym. Eventually a few players trickled in to shoot – Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and Lawrence Hill. A couple more came out for interviews after Coach Paul Westphal spoke. But over all, it was a quiet day at training camp.
- No injuries to report. To clarify, everyone is hurting. Day four of camp is always the one that catches up with the players. Cousins came out with ice on his left shoulder. He’s dinged, but not injured. Most of the team is feeling the same way.
Coaches Notes and Quotes
- Coach Paul Westphal on who is having the best camp so far: “I would say that Marcus Thornton had a terrific scrimmage last night and John Salmons has been excellent all the time. I think our rookies are adjusting really well and looking comfortable. I would say probably the two guys on top of their games or close to mid-season form as they can be are John (Salmons) and Marcus (Thornton).”
- Westphal on how Jimmer is holding up defensively: “He’s probably holding up as well as any 6′-2 guard coming into the league ever does. He’s going to have some defensive challenges and he’s a smart player and learn how to position himself and defend some of the greatest athletes in the world. He’s working hard and he’s learning. He’s doing as well as is to be expected.”
- Wesphal on where Jason Thompson fits into the offense: “Jason’s one of our four front court players that we are relying on to play some minutes. He’s a versatile player. He’s got a great motor. One thing that we see in these scrimmages, is the longer these scrimmages go, the better Jason looks. He starts running by some people that maybe he didn’t run by earlier in the scrimmage. He keeps going and going.”
Players Notes and Quotes
- DeMarcus Cousins on his iced shoulder: “It’s alright. It’s the same injury from last year. I tweaked it a little bit at practice. We’re just trying to get it right before it gets any worse.”
- Cousins on how his role is changing in the new offense (very good question by the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones): “It’s kind of similar. Last year we kind of went into it later in the year. But we are going to use a lot more splits this year. And he’s (Coach Westphal) going to be using me and Chuck dishing the ball off to the splitting guards. It’s different, but it’s not at the same time.”
- Cousins on what he is learning from Chuck Hayes: “Just to stay low. Chuck’s always low. Even though he’s short, he’s low (laughing). That’s really what I’m learning from him and to be vocal. Chuck’s always talking, even when he’s not in the game…actually, he talks too much.”
- Donté Greene on where he is at physically: “It’s going well. Better than last year, I came in (around) 20 pounds overweight last year? I’m looking good right now – about 242 (pounds) and just looking to get better and hopefully get some minutes.”
This was a difficult day to really break down much because practice was so abbreviated. Day four is notoriously the day the players wear down a bit and the coaching staff cuts back. Here are a few quick observations.
- Evans looked good hitting his jumper, as did Garcia, but those two are really the only players that came out and did any work outside of Hill.
- Speaking of Hill, he has a very nice jumper for a player his size. He has no chance of making this squad because of the numbers game and the abbreviated pre-season, but he might find his way onto an NBDL roster at some point.
- DeMarcus Cousins seems to be getting a hang of the media game. This season, he has come out and been himself more, which is a lot of fun. Cousins is huge and gregarious and his teammates seem to genuinely like him this season. Of course the Kings aren’t losing any games right now, so that helps. I don’t think we are going to see nearly as many “issues” with Cousins this year. And hopefully, he is growing out of some of the personality quirks that often made him the object of criticism last season.
- Greene is another player who has really turned the corner in regards to maturity. This was a busy summer for Greene as he got married and became a father again (to another baby boy). This is a huge season for Donté and his fight for minutes has already begun. Like Thompson and Hickson, Greene is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is working this season for his next contract. Nothing says motivation like millions of dollars.