Sacramento Kings Mini Camp Notebook: Thomas Robinson impresses with his passing, Hassan Whiteside adapting to defensive role

No video today, so here’s a heftier notebook from day three of the Kings’ mini camp in Sacramento.

  • Bobby Jackson, co-head coach of this year’s summer league team, says Thomas Robinson has impressed early.  Jackson says Robinson’s passing ability has stood out most during this four-day camp.  Jackson didn’t realize how good of a facilitator Robinson is and beliveves the Kings rookie is capable of initiating their fast break.
  • Jackson on what Robinson must learn: “Just slowing down and letting the game come to him.  He wants to everything 100 miles an hour, but the older you get, the more time you get you on the floor, he’ll start to see that.  He can’t go 100 miles an hour every time.  But the energy, everybody is going to it and learning how to play with him.”  Clearly, no questions about Robinson’s motor at all.
  • Can Robinson play small forward?  Jackson says the Kings won’t use him at the 3 during summer league.  He thinks Robinson is capable of possibly defending that position, but not any time soon.  “That’s a hard position to defend,” said Jackson.  “But he can do it, I think he can do it.  But right now, he won’t be able to do it.  To guard LeBron (James) and Carmelo Anthony?  Nah.”

  • James Nunnally, Dominique Johnson, Michael Lee and Tony Mitchell are four invitees that have stood out in this mini-camp.  According to Jackson, Lee has demonstrated an ability to play shooting guard, small forward and power forward.  “He’s long, he’s athletic, he’ll put the ball on the floor, he’ll guard, he can make shots,” said Jackson of Lee.
  • Along with Robinson, Jimmer Fredette is going to be the Kings’ man on offense in summer league.  This mini camp session along with action in Las Vegas will give Jimmer ample opportunity to learn how to operate in late game situations.
  • For Hassan Whiteside, the Kings continue to emphasize he improve his shot-blocking and rebounding.  “I’m just going to do what the team needs,” Whitesaid told media today.  “If the team doesn’t need me to score, I’m going to rebound and block shots.”
  • Whiteside says playing a role is a learning process and he’s still working to adapt.  “In high school and college, you’re always the best player on the team so you get the ball a lot more,” Whiteside said. “But when you come here (to the NBA), you kind of have to take a role for the team.  You have to sacrifice for the team.  So, if it helps us win games, why not?”
  • Whiteside on Robinson:  “He’s still aggressive as he was in high school.  He’s a hard worker.  He hasn’t really lost a step since I knew him back in high school.  I played against him several times.  I’ve never been on his team before, so it’s pretty helpful.”  The two Kings’ big men played against each other on the east coast before heading to college.
  • Whiteside has spent most of his time working out and training in Sacramento.  He, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia have been the mainstays at the Kings’ practice facility this offseason.

Reminder: Kings begin summer league play on Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Games will be televised on NBA TV. You can view the complete Kings’ summer league schedule here. And be sure to follow Cowbell Kingdom all next week. We’ll be down in Las Vegas for all the action.


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.

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