The NBA season officially starts on Halloween. But for the Sacramento Kings and the fortunate few of us that cover them, it began yesterday with their annual media day festivities. Here’s some of the things we learned from the frenzy.
DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson motivated by proving doubters wrong
The Kings starting center can relate to his new teammate on the frontline.
“Me and Thomas are in a similar situation,” Cousins said of Robinson. “And we have a similar mindset when it comes to playing. We’re out there trying to prove so much and we’re trying to do it at one time.”
During summer league in July, Cousins noticed Robinson was pressing in his play and not letting the game come to him. As someone who’s been in those shoes before, Cousins offered him advice.
“When I was watching him play,” Cousins said. “I was just telling him to slow down, calm down. He was just moving so fast with everything and you could tell he was uncomfortable. But as he slowed down, he played better.”
Both big men fell to the fifth overall pick in their respective drafts due to perceived flaws. For Cousins, it was questions about maturity. For Robinson, it was an undersized build and his long-term potential.
“He wants to prove to the world he can play,” Cousins added. “I don’t blame him.”
Keith Smart on Kings’ offseason approach: “Beyond what I thought they would possibly do.”
They did more than what he expected.
The Kings head coach told media that he was more than happy with his team’s approach to the offseason.
“These guys did more than I thought that they would do based on the commitment they had for conditioning and working out,” Smart said yesterday afternoon. “But more importantly, coming back to Sacramento throughout the summer.”
The Kings head coach was pleasantly surprised that he and his coaching staff didn’t have to travel much to reach out to their players.
“We thought we had to go out there and see them,” Smart said. “But a lot of them kept coming back here, so we did go out and see a few, but more than anything those guys were in town.”
Geoff Petrie on arranging training camp in Colorado Springs
The Kings president of basketball operations was questioned about the team’s decision to set up shop in Colorado. He discussed the opportunity for the Kings to have a little more privacy and how it might help with building team camaraderie.
“They can spend not just the practice time together,” Petrie said. “But some other time together that may not happen when you’re in more comfortable surroundings. So, it’s five or six days out of 30 days, but I think it will give us a good opportunity to get the guys together and really try and get them focused on the things Keith wants them to emphasize and work on over the course of the season.”
Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee asked if the Kings could’ve gone to Hawaii instead. Petrie offered an interesting explanation on the hoops they had to jump through to make the trip to the U.S. Olympic Training Center a reality.
“It’s interesting,” said Petrie after chuckling at Jones’ lighthearted question. “Just about anywhere you go, you’re going into somebody else’s territory if you can find facilities that are adequate. We did have to get permission from the (Denver) Nuggets and the league to go to Colorado Springs, and teams are usually very accommodating on those types of things anyway. I think it’ll be a good start for us.”
Where have you been Jimmer Fredette?
One player who won’t have any trouble adjusting to the altitude in Colorado Springs is Jimmer Fredette. The Kings second-year guard calls Denver home in the offseason.
“My wife’s from there so that’s kind of where we settled down,” said Fredette, who married his college sweetheart, Whitney this summer.
Jimmer added that he spent time in New York, Sacramento, Utah and Los Angeles in addition to his new home in Colorado. The Kings guard also shared what he took away from his workouts with coach Smart, who visited Fredette in the Mile High City during the offseason.
“The main message (was) to be aggressive,” said Fredette of what Smart expressed to him. “Be more aggressive than last year. Take your shots. You’re a great shooter – go out there and do what we drafted you to do.”
Goon Squad update with Jason Thompson
James Ham and I managed to grab the recently re-signed big man for a quick question and answer session and the subject of Donté Greene was brought up. The former Kings forward inked a deal with the Brooklyn Nets in August, but saw his contract voided after injuring his ankle playing pick-up basketball in Charlotte, NC.
So, how is Thompson’s friend and old teammate holding up after an unlucky break?
“Doing alright, man,” Thompson said of the former Kings fan favorite. “It’s unfortunate that he had an injury with messing his ankle up. But, I guess, you know, the Lord says that everything happens for a reason. Maybe he comes back even stronger and gets into the right situation.”
VIDEO: Assorted quotes from 2012 Sacramento Kings Media Day