Coach Westphal chooses Donté Greene and Carl Landry as starters.
This news should come as no surprise to those following the Kings closely, but today Coach Paul Westphal made the announcement he has been dropping hints about all week:
“If we’re healthy, we’ll start with Beno, and Cisco and Donté and Carl and DeMarcus the first game. And then when Tyreke comes back, he’ll start in place of Cisco.”
I had a chance to sit down with Omri Casspi on Tuesday before the Warriors game and he was unsure that he would get a chance to start in one of the remaining pre-season games. I asked him about whether he was comfortable coming off the bench or not and he gave me this quote:
“I feel really comfortable on both sides, whether I come off the bench or start. Obviously, I would rather start and I believe that the best player should start, but besides that, I feel like I have no problem with the coach starting me or bringing me off the bench. It’s his decision and I’ll be happy either way if we are winning.”
After the Warriors game, I had a moment to catch up with Donté Greene and ask him about going from who knows where 48 hours ago, to possibly the starting small forward for the Kings: “I’m happy, you know, I’m just trying to continue to work and get better everyday and do whatever it takes to get that job.”
Coach Westphal foreshadowed this decision in his post game interviews on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He had this to say to Kings play by play man Grant Napear following the Kings loss to the Lakers on Wednesday in Las Vegas, “I think I have a pretty good idea. I’ll tell the players what we’re going to do before I make an announcement to the press but it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.” Tuesday, he had this to say about Casspi, “I like Casspi off the bench, I’ve said that a lot. I think he gives us a really nice lift that way.”
So team Donté wins, at least for now, but I’m not so sure that Casspi fans will be satisfied that Omri didn’t get his chance to start. At some point, either Casspi or Greene may develop into a player that warrants 35+ minutes a game. Until then, Greene will start and Casspi will play the role of bench scorer.
As for Carl Landry, he had both a good day and a bad day. First, he was announced as the Kings starting power forward for opening night. Unfortunately, that news also came with the news that his brother Marcus was cut from the team. Coach Westphal chimed in on the state of Carl Landry:
“It’s his brother. It’s not fun but he’s a professional and he understood that was a possibility when he came here.”
Considered a long shot to make the team in the beginning of camp, Marcus Landry made a run for a roster spot, even starting two pre-season games. With the Kings depth at small forward including Greene, Casspi, Wright and even Garcia being able to move over and eat some minute, Marcus Landry just got lost in a numbers game.
This was an interesting day at camp. Here is a link to Donté Greene’s post announcement comments.