Rudy Gay, Michael Malone preach patience during Sacramento Kings transition

Rudy Gay after his first Sacramento Kings practice. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

In his words, Rudy Gay’s first practice as a Sacramento King was “very intellectual”.

The 27-year-old small forward took to the workout court for the first time since being traded from the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.  The practice was the first opportunity for the Kings to begin the process of integrating Gay and teammates Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray into their system.

“It went well,” Gay said of his first practice as a King. “Went really hard. Very intellectual practice I’d say because they were teaching us so much about the offense. And it was one of those practices that if you had been here, you’re probably bored. But there’s things that we need to learn.”

Following the trade, Gay, Acy and Gray were healthy scratches from the Kings’ last two contests.  They were not allowed to play or practice with the team until each player the Raptors received in the deal were medically cleared.

Coming to the Kings, Gay averaged 19.4 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting just 38.8 percent from the field in 18 games for the Raptors.  Those expecting Gay to make an instant impact in Sacramento will have to exercise patience as the Kings deal with transition.  The roster has undergone a major facelift with a total of five players being traded over the last two weeks.

“It’s tough,” Gay said when asked of the difficulty of learning a brand new system roughly 20 games into the season.  “It’s going to take time to get continuity with the players.  It’s going to take a couple games obviously and a couple practices.  But, we’ll just learn on the fly.  And we just want to get as many wins and try to play as well as we can.”

Unlike the trade for Derrick Williams, the Kings don’t have the luxury of time on their side when preparing for their next opponent.  Gay, Acy and Gray will have a total of one practice and one shootaround under their belts before the Kings play the Suns in Phoenix tomorrow.

With that in mind, Kings head coach Michael Malone is simplifying his system for the new players.

“When you make a seven-player trade, it’s gonna take time,” Malone said following practice Thursday.  “I’m just happy we had a practice today.  We’ll have shootaround tomorrow and we’ll try to simplify things for those guys moving forward.  But in a way, you almost are starting over again.  It’s almost like trying to have a training camp on the fly to get these guys caught up to speed.”

Like he did with Williams, Malone plans on throwing Gay immediately into the fire.  Gay will start at forward in tomorrow’s match-up against the  Suns.  Malone, however, would not reveal who he’ll start opposite Gay at the other forward spot on the floor.

“I’m not gonna bring him along slow off the bench,” Malone said.  “We’ll throw him out there on the fly, call timeouts when needed.  And his teammates are gonna have to help him out there on the floor as well, communicate with him offensively and defensively to help him.  But, we’re gonna roll with him and make him a focal point at times in our offense and to play to his strength as a player.”

Cousins places 12th among frontcourt players in All-Star Voting first returns

The early returns are in and DeMarcus Cousins ranks among the top vote-getters in this year’s All-Star Game.  With 60,923 votes, the Kings starting center ranked 12th among all frontcourt players in the Western Conference after the NBA announced the first returns on balloting for the 63rd Annual All-Star Game.

Cousins is averaging a career-high 22.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game this season for the Kings.  He’s also shooting a career-best 49.2 percent from the field.

A list of the All-Star Ballot’s first returns can be read below.

Eastern Conference

Frontcourt

  1.  LeBron James (Mia) 609,336
  2. Paul George (Ind) 489,335
  3. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 424,211
  4. Roy Hibbert (Ind) 208,369
  5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 156,364
  6. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 102,825
  7. Joakim Noah (Chi) 75,229
  8. Jeff Green (Bos) 55,912
  9. Luol Deng (Chi) 54,340
  10. Tyson Chandler (NYK) 51,738
  11. Andre Drummond (Det) 51,351
  12. Carlos Boozer (Chi) 48,745
  13. Paul Pierce (BKN) 45,145
  14. Book Lopez (BKN) 37,153
  15. Josh Smith (Det) 32,025

Backcourt

  1. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 396,279
  2. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 365,712
  3. Derrick Rose (Chi) 272,410
  4. John Wall (Was) 124,851
  5. Ray Allen (Mia) 99,464
  6. Rajon Rondo (Bos) 80,889
  7. Deron Williams (BKN) 44,282
  8. George Hill (Ind) 42,536
  9. Evan Turner (Phi) 33,605
  10. Mario Chalmers (Mia) 32,996

Western Conference

Frontcourt

  1. Kevin Durant (OKC) 607,407
  2. Dwight Howard (Hou) 295,120
  3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 292,925
  4. Kevin Love (Min) 275,506
  5. Tim Duncan (SA) 217,271
  6. Anthony Davis (NO) 149,579
  7. Pau Gasol (LAL) 133,199
  8. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 132,818
  9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 109,745
  10. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 89,093
  11. Chandler Parsons (Hou) 77,179
  12. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 60,923
  13. David Lee (GS) 60,015
  14. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 55,023
  15. Omer Asik (Hou) 53,827

Backcourt

  1. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 501,215
  2. Chris Paul (LAC) 393,313
  3. Stephen Curry (GS) 327,449
  4. Jeremy Lin (Hou) 240,404
  5. James Harden (Hou) 198,667
  6. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 149,065
  7. Tony Parker (SA) 112,423
  8. Ricky Rubio (Min) 63,096
  9. Steve Nash (LAL) 60,782
  10. Damian Lillard (Por) 55,847

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.