Lockout ends, are your Sacramento Kings ready?

Every NBA coach has the fear that one or more of his players are going to come back from this long lay off way out of shape.  It’s happened before.  Shawn Kemp and Vin Baker are two players that come to mind when people speak of the 1998-99 lockout.  These two went from all-star power forwards to poster children for what can happen when players are left to their own devices.

Before his rookie season, DeMarcus Cousins fell under attack for being a player who was out of shape.  I’m sure some people circled Cousins’ name on their lockout weight gain betting pools.  He may have even been one of the favorites.  Well, it didn’t happen.  I saw DeMarcus last weekend at the Goon Squad Classic and he looked like he was in great shape.  Wait … I have video.

Cousins wasn’t the only King to show up for Donté Greene’s charity game.  Jason Thompson looked like he hadn’t missed a day in the gym all summer, but that is typical for JT.  Rookies Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas also looked lean and ready to play, but you expect that out of rookies.  Greene, who came into camp at 260-pounds last season, some 15 to 20 pounds heavier than his previous season playing weight, looked as though he had learned from the previous mistake.  Hassan Whiteside played a total of 4 minutes for the Kings last season due to injury.  The second year big man out of Marshall looked like he had continued to stack weight on in a positive way.

Coming into the game, there had been chatter that Tyreke Evans had added a few pounds.  While I don’t want to say that the face of the Kings franchise looked portly, he was definitely thicker through the mid-section.  Be it muscle or just a winter coat, Evans still dropped 54-points and looked good doing it.

The players have a little bit of time to fine tune and get ready for camp, which barring a major setback in negotiations, should start on December 9th.  This should be a very busy couple of weeks for the Kings as they not only gear up for a shortened 66-game season, but also figure out a way to spend a whole lot of cap space.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and 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. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".