Kings practice notes and quotes: January 6

Sacramento Kings small forward Rudy Gay following training camp practice on Sept. 29, 2014. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

The Sacramento Kings ran a short practice in preparation for tomorrow’s contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here were highlights from the media scrum.

Notes and Quotes

  • Ramon Sessions (low back strain) and Omri Casspi (left knee bone contusion) failed to participate in today’s practice. They will miss tomorrow’s game.
  • Rudy Gay on the team’s emotional state: “I think that was obvious, with those (road) games, could have been our last game of our road trip, could have been you want to go home, could have been anything. But for the most part, I think our morale is, we’re together, we’re together. I think it was a lot of playing without knowing, you know. First we had our strategies, like I said before. We had our strategies, we had everything we wanted to run out of our team. With the coaching change, it takes a little while. New terminology and all that stuff. With practice, I think we’ve got to get better and rise above that.”
  • Rudy Gay on the defensive scheme: “It’s a little bit of everything. I think that’s what we’ve been struggling with as of late. But I don’t think it’s as much as ‘tough to learn’ as much as it is to change what we’re used to. So it’s not a bad thing necessarily, it just takes time.”
  • Rudy Gay on frustrating stretches of play: “We’re a young team, so sometimes it will happen. You know this team has basically been put together within the last two years. This is not a team that’s been together and has the same personality. We’re not the Spurs, we’re not the team coach Corbin took over last time, we’re not Utah. We’re a bunch of young guys learning to play with each other, and it’s going to take some time.”
  • Rudy Gay on the starting lineup: “That’s not supposed to change. We are the guys that dominate the ball, we make plays for others, and we’re always supposed to be on the same page, so that hasn’t changed. It’s just us learning how to be effective within the new offense.”
  • Rudy Gay on Ben McLemore’s chances for Most Improved Player: “I think so. I mean there’s a lot of guys out there. I mean, obviously the people that jump out, that really jump out in the NBA are (Jimmy) Butler and those guys. But I think Ben has put in a lot of work, and he deserves some kind of recognition.”
  • Rudy Gay on channeling success from earlier in the season: “That helps. That definitely helps our record. But you know, we’ve had a little taste of what it’s like to win. To have the media know about us, for the rest of the NBA world know about us. And right now we just have to get back to playing that kind of basketball. No matter what it is, we’re playing together. It really doesn’t matter what the sets were, anything, we played together, we played as a team. We have to get back to that.”
  • Rudy Gay on DeMarcus Cousins’ development: “DeMarcus Cousins is DeMarcus Cousins. I feel like every time I get up here you want me to comment on how he’s regressing or progressing. I’m not going to keep talking about that. He’s a great player. He will be my teammate until my contract is up. So until then, and forever, I’m always happy to play in the same lineup.”
  • Rudy Gay on DeMarcus Cousins’ conditioning: “He’s fought his way back. Obviously we need him so we can’t have him out. Obviously, he could be in better shape, but obviously we’re a better team with him on the court. He’s working through it, and he’s pushing through it just like we’re all pushing him to do it.”

The Kings will have a morning shoot around before hosting the Thunder tomorrow at 7 p.m.

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About: Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is a writer and reporter for Cowbell Kingdom. He previously covered the Sacramento Kings and the NBA for Sports Out West. He is published by Sports Illustrated’s Truth and Rumors and Yahoo Sports NFL among others.