Kings Practice Notes and Quotes: November 17

Eric Moreland at 2014 NBA Summer League. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

The Sacramento Kings are loving some home cooking.  After a 1-3 road trip, the Kings took care of the San Antonio Spurs on their home floor Saturday night and improved to 6-4 on the season.  The team welcomes two more quality opponents on their home floor this week as they try to build on their early season success.  The New Orleans Pelicans, who play tonight in Portland, drop in on Tuesday, and the Chicago Bulls roll through on Thursday.

News broke on Sunday that Rudy Gay has agreed to a new three-year extension with the Kings, but the contract is not signed, making any definitive discussion of it off limits for both players and coaches.

Gay is questionable for Tuesday night’s game with right Achilles tendinitis and Jason Thompson is listed as probable with left quad tendinitis, opening a door for the Kings to play short-handed against the Pelicans (5-3).

The practice floor emptied out early as the Kings players had to fulfill one of the many in-season commitments that pop up during the season.  Coach Michael Malone, Darren Collison and rookie Eric Moreland swung by to speak to the press.

Coaches Notes and Quotes

  • Coach Michael Malone on the New Orleans Pelicans: “They have three guards in Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke (Evans) that can all break you down off the dribble (and) create for their teammates.  Anthony Davis and Omer Asik in their frontcourt – very talented.  I think Omer is one of the better low post defenders in the NBA, so he’ll be on Cousins.  And Anthony Davis, we all know, is a rising star.  Watching him play with the USA Team this summer, he just continues to get better and better.  Then off the bench you have Sacramento’s own Ryan Anderson, who is such a 3-point threat.  (He) spaces the floor (and is) just a great compliment to Anthony Davis.”
  • Malone on beating the Spurs: “The big stretch for me was the second quarter.  We won the game, but we only won one quarter and that was quarter two.  We had a stretch where we had a bunch of consecutive defensive stops, which led to easy baskets for us.  We got out and scored off our defense.”
  • Malone when asked about Rudy Gay’s new contract extension: “That’s a great question – no comment.  All of that stuff will take care of itself in the very near future. But it is no secret how we feel about him…he is a tremendous player.  He’s playing at an All-Star caliber level right now.  What I love is, he’s being a facilitator, making plays for his teammates, which I think is the true definition of a great player – those that make everyone around them better.  But more importantly, it’s not just about talent.  We want to bring in the right guys.  Rudy is a high-character individual.  Tremendous person, father, husband and we’re very proud he’s a King and that I can only hope that he’ll be a King for many years to come.”

Players Notes and Quotes

  • While the Kings players aren’t specifically acknowledging Gay’s new extension, we were able to get a bit on the subject from point guard Darren Collison:  “I’m extremely excited. This is a good step in the right direction.  You think about how far this organization has come and to have players of Rudy’s caliber and his talent, DeMarcus (Cousins) is stepping up and becoming a household name (and) myself included, wanting to sign here, it just speaks a lot about this organization and what they’re trying to do.  And it speaks about our future.”
  • Collison on a wild week of big leads lost: “We’re not the first team to let big leads go and we definitely won’t be the last.  Those things are going to happen.  The biggest thing is that you have to focus on the next game and we did that against the San Antonio Spurs.”
  • Collison on the Kings’ next test against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night: “You don’t deal with it, you just have to continue to play your game defensively.  We have a defensive system and a style of play that we’ve been playing the last few games, especially last game, we got back on track.  We just worry about ourselves.  We just do what we do on the defensive end and hopefully everything will take care of (itself).”
  • Collison on the development of DeMarcus Cousins: “I think the biggest thing is that we’ve got to learn to play off him, because when teams start doubling him, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the proper spacing and we’re ready to knock down shots.  It’s going to happen.  He’s such a willing passer that when he does get double-teamed, we’ve just got to make sure we’re in the right space.”
  • Eric Moreland is back from Reno, at least during the homestand.  But the 22-year-old big man has already gotten a taste of the Bighorns offense led by coach David Arseneault Jr.:  “You don’t have as many resources down there as you do up here.  I’m just trying to learn as much as I can up here and then learn as much as I can down there and try and put it all together.”
  • Moreland got the chance to face off against a former King in Hassan Whiteside this week in Reno.  The 7-footer out of Marshall dropped in 30 points on 15-of-18 shooting, grabbed 22 rebounds and blocked eight shots against the Bighorns.  “I think he’s a good player, but I’d like to see it against not the defense that we do.  It’s just a bunch of 3-point shots taken and then some wide open dunks for him.  Personally I like, I’m a fan of his actually.  I like his game.  He’s athletic, he’s long, he’s active.  I don’t know about 30 and 22 now, but I like him a lot.”

Sacramento opens up the gym tomorrow night for a 7 p.m. tip-off against former teammates Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons.  Also in town, star-in-the-making Anthony Davis and Sacramento native Ryan Anderson.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".