Practice notes and quotes: October 27

Michael Malone chats following Sacramento Kings practice in Santa Barbara. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Threes, threes, threes galore for the Kings in their post-practice shootaround. Derrick Williams and Omri Casspi worked on one side of the court while Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore rotated shots on the other.

Williams’ long ball was noticeably accurate today, while Gay and McLemore moved around the arc and even took practice jumpers with a foot purposely on the line.

On the far court, Nik Stauskas shot 3’s from the right sideline and Jason Thompson took 2’s about a step within the arc.

Michael Malone used this time to consult DeMarcus Cousins one-on-one in the corner of the gym. Cousins eventually made his way over to chat with Vivek Ranadive and Mark Mastrov, who were in attendance with a group including Pete D’Alessandro and Chris Mullin.

Coaches Notes and Quotes

  • Michael Malone on today’s practice: “Practice today was alright. My worry is our guys’ sense of urgency as we open up the season on Wednesday night playing against a very good team in Golden State that beat us four times last year. So I give our guys credit, we play very hard, we compete, we bring forth the effort, but the execution and the discipline and play with a purpose has to be a lot better.”
  • Michael Malone on containing Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson: “We try to stress it before practice when we watch film, showing them in transition, whatever it may be. But then in practice, I had the opposing team wearing two red shirts, the point guard and the shooting guard, to know that whether that guy in practice makes it or misses his shot, come Wednesday night it’s going to be a make. We have to know where they are at all times, starting in transition. We can’t give them any airspace, any separation. Our big guys have to be in tune, be up the floor on pick-and-rolls, and get the guards the necessary help. So I can only hope that we’ll have a lot more discipline this year in playing them. If they hit tough shots, they hit tough shots. They’re great players, both of them, and they’re going to make shots. But it’s the uncontested, wide-open shots, the breakdowns in the gameplan, or a lack of gameplan discipline that wind up costing you. And our talent level is not where we can go out there and just have wasted or blown possessions time and time again.
  • Michael Malone on whether the players feel urgency: “I hope. I hope they do. But I also have to be honest that I have my doubts at times. I know they’re tired of me saying it all preseason long. I said ‘Fellas, go home and look at the opening schedule that we have. The NBA hasn’t done us any favors with that schedule to start the year. It is a bear.’ And we have to be ready to play. I think they understand it, but sometimes somebody has to get cracked in the jaw to really understand it, and I hope that’s not who we are. I’m hoping that we have enough respect for the schedule and our opponents, and the fact that we don’t want to have another 28-win season. We have to be ready to start. And I told them before training camp even started, we have to have a great month of October so get can ready for October 29, and the difficult schedule we have, because we have to try to steal some of those games. We have to. We’re playing right off the bat, Golden State, Portland, LA (Clippers). Three teams that got out of the first round last year. So we have to be ready to play, because they’re not going to wait for us.”

Players Notes and Quotes

  • Ramon Sessions on limiting DeMarcus Cousins’ turnovers: “Just giving him the ball in his spots so he doesn’t have to do as much. If he’s out on the block, tell him to back up a little bit. Get him closer to the basket so there’s less pressure on him for offensive fouls and what not. We definitely (have) to help him out, and as a team, we (have) to take care of the ball offensively.”
  • Ramon Sessions on the Kings’ lineup versatility: “I think we (have) a lot. We also (have) some stretch-four guys who can come in and play. We have Rudy (Gay) that played the four this summer with Team USA. He can play the four. I can play the two with DC (Darren Collison) out there. I think Nik (Stauskas) can play the three. That’s a lot of lineups scenarios I think they can help us with.”
  • Ramon Sessions on an up-tempo offense: “I feel real comfortable. We (have) a lot of guys that can run. We and DC pushing the ball, we (have) a lot of guys who can run the floor, bigs, wings. (We’re) very capable and I think it’s something that will work for us.”
  • Ramon Sessions on his eighth regular season opener: “You still get butterflies. It’s my eighth year, and I’m as excited as I was my first year. Anytime you can start a season in the NBA, that first game is not like anything.”
  • Jason Thompson on the team’s vibe: “I think that we have a lot of high energy. I think that we’re taking accountability. We all know if you look down the roster, guys can score. I think that as a team, we can’t be 29th in the league in assists and find ways to win the game. We can’t be 29th in 3-point field goal percentage and one of the last teams in the league in defensive field goal percentage. That’s not winning basketball. So I think we definitely took that into account, and even some of the guys who came in early before training camp. It’s definitely a vibe you can feel coming in to start the season.”
  • Jason Thompson on the Kings’ talent: “I think it’s very high. Talent is a scary word just because it’s all good, talent on paper, but it’s how well you put it together. Talent-wise, I think that there’s guys coming off the bench that could start, and that makes a deep team and a deep bench. So I think that can only help our team, it’s just how well we can all play and gel together.”
  • Jason Thompson on DeMarcus Cousins’ offseason development: “I think he’s maturing. I think he’s starting to become the leader of the team. I think that USA Team only helped with his progression, slowing down on offense, and being able to learn how to play without fouling on defense as well.  And I think also his aggression emotionally has gotten better too. You’re always going to be judged on what you do, but if you look even at the guy who’s the most quiet person in the NBA, he even has times where he’ll have a moment. So I think he’s definitely gotten better on that.”

The Kings host their final practice tomorrow before the regular season opener versus the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, October 29 in Sleep Train Arena.

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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.