Kings practice notes: Team wraps up training camp with Christmas Eve session
A whirlwind week in Sacramento concluded on Christmas Eve with the Kings’ final practice before Monday night’s home opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. Considering the condensed time frame of training camp, the Kings are about as ready for the regular season as they can be.
- After a brief battle last week against the injury bug, the Kings go into Monday night relatively healthy. Kings forward John Salmons is expected to start after suffering a right thigh contusion at the Kings open scrimmage. Kings big man Chuck Hayes participated in his first practice since Wednesday, December 14th. Kings guard Tyreke Evans tweaked his shoulder trying to swipe the ball away from teammate Francisco Garcia during halfcourt drills. He sat out part of practice, but finished the final workout during the team scrimmage. “It was stinging for a minute,” Evans said. “But after I iced it, it started getting back warm and it felt pretty good.”
- How did Hayes look in his first practice back following the drama of last week? “Rusty,” said Head Coach Paul Westphal. “He looked rusty, but it was good to have him back.” Hayes is expected to start Monday night against the Lakers. He was also named the team’s lone captain.
- Today was an important practice for the Kings to get their house in order before the season opener. Westphal says they reviewed all their offensive and defensive schemes, but also emphasized to players the big picture. “Again, we’ve had so many people miss so much and this preseason has gone so fast that we’re not alone,” he said. “All the teams have a lot to cram in, in an impossible period of time. So, we’re trying to cram in as much as we can and make adjustments on the fly.”
- Westphal says preparation for the Lakers is about understanding Los Angeles’ personnel. “They’re going to be playing to their strengths. They’re going to try and get the ball to Pau (Gasol),” Westphal said. “They’re going to try to be putting Kobe (Bryant) in situations. And then they spread the floor with a lot of three-point shooters.” He added that they’ve studied the film from the Lakers two preseason games against the Clippers to get a feel for Los Angeles’ offense under new head coach Mike Brown.
- Westphal was asked who their backup point guard will be and he playfully responded, “Well, we don’t even have a point guard, so it’s hard to answer that question.” He emphasized that they have many different players capable of initiating the offense. But Westphal expects to use the two rookies off the pine behind his starters. “We’ll bring Jimmer off the bench to sub for Marcus (Thornton) and Tyreke. And also we’ll see Isaiah (Thomas) from time to time.”