Practice notes and quotes: November 6

Sacramento Kings forward Carl Landry flashes a grin following practice in Santa Barbara. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Today was not your usual post-practice scene. When the media walked out on the gym floor, Nik Stauskas and Carl Landry were launching high-arcing free throws. Ryan Hollins was on the other end working diligently on his midrange jumper, while Landry eventually took flat-footed shots from the baseline. Ray McCallum and Jason Thompson shared the parallel court shooting 3’s. Even Michael Malone got in on the action, throwing up a few set shots himself.

Malone and Landry spoke to the press.

Coaches Notes and Quotes

  • Michael Malone on the upcoming road trip: “I think it’s going to be a great test. You know anytime you go on the road and you play against the likes of Phoenix, OKC, Dallas, Memphis, you’re going to have a great understanding of where you’re at when you come back from this trip. Thank goodness that we’ve been able to start the way we have and build a 4-1 cushion. And we taught about that on media day in our team meeting. We want to have a great month of October so we can try to steal some games early, knowing that our schedule is going to be very demanding playing a lot of playoff teams and playing a lot of road games. So we’ll have an idea where we’re at, but just like we’re 4-1 right now, that doesn’t mean that’s going to always be the case and if we struggle a little bit in this road trip, there’s no need to panic. We’re a team, a work in progress if you will. We’re playing well right now but a lot of area for improvement. Which is really encouraging to be 4-1 knowing that we still have a lot of work to do.”
  • Michael Malone on playing team defense for 48 minutes: “I think the Portland game, I think we played 48 minutes. My goal is to play as close to 48 minutes as possible. Some games we have. But that Denver game (Wednesday) was just…one and three were great, two and four were bad. And sometimes when you get up by 30-something points, it’s tough to maintain that. But the guys on our bench have to understand when the starters build a lead, and you go in the game, it’s your responsibility to maintain that, and not give it all back. And that’s something we’ll continue to work on. We’re third in field goal percentage defense, we’re fourth in 3-point defense right now, but the areas of concern for me are 21st in fast break points allowed and 21st in free throw attempts allowed. So we’ll have our challenges tomorrow night. A tremendous running team, a team that puts a lot of pressure on you. So we’re not satisfied, we have to try to address all the areas of concern, and it’s better to address those in wins than in losses.”
  • Michael Malone on the Kings’ chemistry: “Oh I think it’s great. And winning will do that, there’s no doubt, being 4-1. But the guys have come together. We have a tremendous group. I’ve noticed a significant change with DeMarcus (Cousins) and Rudy (Gay), and how vocal they’re being, how positive they’re being. Even when we’re going through maybe a rough time during a game, there’s a lot of positive feedback. On the bench, in the locker room, in practice which is great. Hopefully that can continue. You can see even while the guys are on the bench during a game, our bench is up. Our bench is into the game. Like we always say, it’s amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares to get the credit. We all just want to win. I think guys are putting their egos and checking them at the door right now.”
  • Michael Malone on playing the Phoenix Suns Friday: “Especially coming off of a loss at home at the hands of Memphis, they’re going to come out in attack-mode. They’re a tremendous running team. They put a lot of pressure on you. They have three guards in (Goran) Dragic, (Eric) Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas (who) are going to attack for 48 minutes. So if we go in there and we allow them to get out on their break, we’re going to be in trouble. So how do we stop their break? Take care of the ball, have great shot selection, and have execution. Slow the game down a little bit, because in their building, they’re going to try to run you out of the gym. Memphis beat them up by slowing the game down and held them to 91 points.”
  • Michael Malone on Ramon Sessions’ struggles: “Even though we’re playing well, it’s not going to happen for everybody overnight. And that bench unit was still trying to find an identity. Ramon in Denver did a great job getting to the foul line. And if you know him and his career, he’s always done a tremendous job of getting to the free throw line. He’s an attack player. So I think he’s trying to find the balance of ‘when do I attack’ and ‘I also have to run my team as a point guard.’ But he’ll be fine. And Ray McCallum has done a great job as well coming in and playing, whether it’s the point guard or combo guard position, because of his ability to defend and he’s also proven to be very valuable of the ball. He’s a guy that’s not going to turn the ball over. So we also have that luxury of having another ball handler in Ray McCallum.”

Players Notes and Quotes

  • Carl Landry on the upcoming road trip: “It’s such a long season. Man, this is my eighth year. Right now, it’s big for us to remain focused and got out there and play as hard as we can. But you gauge the season off of one road trip. You just (have) to try to make the best of these games and see where the chips fall.”
  • Carl Landry on defending high-tempo offenses: “So far, so good. We definitely need to get back and not give teams easy points on the offensive end. Because in this game, scoring is so hard. Scoring a bucket is definitely difficult. You don’t to give up an easy shot on the road. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to continue to play defense and limit the team from easy buckets.”
  • Carl Landry on this season versus last season: “It’s definitely a winning culture right now. With the addition of Tyrone Corbin. It’s definitely feels good for me to be back on the court instead of in the training room. Coach Malone and his staff (have) an extra year of experience. We have an extra year of experience, together. And guys came in here early, voluntarily, in September and that just builds the team chemistry. Things are going in our favor right now, we just (have) to keep it up.”

Following the media session, the Kings left the practice facility and traveled to the airport. Next stop — Phoenix, Arizona.



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.