Veteran point guards lead positionless charge for Sacramento Kings
Positionless basketball. It’s a term you’ve undoubtedly heard the Sacramento Kings use quite a bit in the offseason.
Michael Malone will employ a variety of lineups this year that won’t adhere to the purist’s way of the game. He’ll go small at times, particularly in the backcourt where he has two veteran options in Ramon Sessions and Darren Collison at his disposal.
When the offseason tipped off in July, Collison was the Kings’ first free agent splash. Sessions, meanwhile, was a late addition, signed by Pete D’Alessandro a few days before training camp began a week-and-a-half ago. Collison and Sessions will likely shoulder most of the load at point, but they’ll also see plenty of action on the court together.
Malone pointed to the San Antonio Spurs as one of the teams in the league that plays positionless basketball best. As the game has evolved, so have Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s lineups. In recent years, the Spurs have gone to floor units that feature two point guards and they’ve generated much success.
“You watch San Antonio, they do it better than anybody,” Malone said. “They put their five best players on the floor. They play together, they move the ball and they’re unselfish.”
Collison and Sessions are no strangers to dual-point guard lineups. As a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, Collison played major minutes last year alongside perennial All-Star Chris Paul. And before he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, Sessions shared minutes on the Charlotte Bobcats’ court with fourth-year point guard Kemba Walker.
Sessions and Collison have played sparingly together so far in practice, but the Kings have already tested the dual-point attack in live game action. Malone employed a lineup that featured the two veterans lead guards in Sunday’s preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors. The Kings also played them together in Tuesday’s follow-up exhibition with the Raptors.
The 28-year-old point guard is relishing the opportunity to share the court with Collison. Sessions thinks that their abilities to handle and make plays for teammates give the Kings an added edge against their opposition.
“It was fun,” Sessions said of sharing the court with Collison following practice on Monday. “Even having Nik (Stauskas) out there (at small forward) – young fella – it was exciting. Anytime you got three guys like that that can score the ball, put the ball on the floor, it’s tough to guard in this league.”
Likewise, Collison is excited to play alongside Sessions this season. In addition to having a skill-set that can complement his abilities, the 27-year-old point guard thinks that Sessions brings a dimension of experience that the Kings need.
“I think he’s going to help us out in so many ways,” Collison said of Sessions. “He knows what it takes to win games. I just think he’s a good addition to us as far as leadership too. It’s not just going to be myself, Rudy or DeMarcus. Ramon, he can be one of the leaders too as well.”
This isn’t not the first time the Kings have explored the idea of running a dual-point attack in their backcourt. Last year, Malone tried using Isaiah Thomas and Greivis Vasquez with each other before the latter was traded to the Toronto Raptors.
The Thomas/Vasquez tandem lasted only 18 games. The Sacramento Kings hope that the Collison/Sessions partnership last much longer than that.