Kings notes: Harry Giles, Skal Labissiere talk growth on training camp Day 3


Kings notes: Harry Giles, Skal Labissiere talk growth on training camp Day 3

SACRAMENTO -- Kings training camp continued Thursday at the practice facility attached to Golden 1 Center. After two days of morning and evening sessions, the coaching staff backed off on Day 3, allowing the players' bodies to get a break with just one workout.

When media was allowed onto the floor, the team was scrimmaging, which is a rarity. Point guard De’Aaron Fox was running one team with Yogi Ferrell, Ben McLemore, Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles flanking him. Frank Mason was at the helm of the other squad, running up and down the court with Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson, Marvin Bagley III and Kosta Koufos.

It was a spirited practice session that focused on the team’s new uptempo style.

Here are some of the highlights from the Kings' third day of camp.

-- Dave Joerger has lost his voice. The veteran coach spoke to his team in a quiet rasp following practice and took the day off from his media duties. 
“Coach’s voice is gone, coach has been yelling at us all day, two times a day,” rookie Giles told the media. “Trying to speed us up a little bit and get us playing fast. You’ve got to love it. He’s into it, he’s passionate about it, and that’s what you want out of a coach.”

-- On Wednesday, Joerger spoke about Giles and tried to temper expectations amongst the fans regarding the 20-year-old big. On Thursday, Giles put up a highlight-reel dunk in front of the media while cameras were rolling.

“I’m just trying to go out there and play basketball,” Giles said. “At this point, I’m not even thinking about what people want me to do or expect out of me. You’ve just got to go out there and compete, play to the best of ability, go out there and just play hard and I think the outcome will be great.”

-- The veterans are being asked to take a secondary role with the team this season, but that doesn’t mean they don’t bring something to the camp. Koufos was the only veteran on the court playing when media was allowed in, and he’s taken on a secondary role as a mentor to the team’s young bigs. 

“2K’s with me, he’s either on my team or playing against me, he’s always giving me advice or wisdom and telling me to just slow myself down,” Giles said. 

-- In addition to Giles, Labissiere also hit the media scrum. Most of the players have come back in great shape, but Labissiere is noticeably bigger in his third NBA training camp. He’s made some adjustments to his approach both on and off the floor.

“I just put in the work and I feel like this summer I grew,” Labissiere said. “Not just on the basketball court, but off the court -- spiritually and mentally, too.”

-- Labissiere struggled to find his niche with the team last season. At times, he looked overwhelmed with information, which translated to a slightly stiff and robotic look on the court. 

“I think the biggest thing for me this year is just playing,” Labissiere said. “Stop thinking about everything -- just playing basketball. That’s one thing -- last year, I thought I was overthinking a lot. This year is just about me going out there and playing basketball, like I’ve always done.”

What does Anthony Davis trade mean for Sacramento Kings offseason plan?


What does Anthony Davis trade mean for Sacramento Kings offseason plan?

SACRAMENTO -- The wild wild west.

With the strong smell of the Golden State Warriors’ blood fresh in the water, at least one team is shooting their shot.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired star center Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday evening for a package of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first round picks, including the third overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft.

It’s an interesting package for Davis, who has missed plenty of time over his NBA career due to a myriad of physical ailments. The six-time All-Star played just 55 games this season, although it was more a precautionary move by the Pelicans after Davis’ representation made a trade demand prior to the All-Star break.

Ball has yet to established himself in the league after being selected by the Lakers with the second overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s missed a total of 63 games in two seasons and his shooting woes are monumental.

Hart is a solid rotational player with upside, but he’ll likely be lost in a crowded backcourt in New Orleans with Ball, Ingram and veteran Jrue Holiday. His addition in the deal also puts Elfrid Payton’s return in question after a solid season for the Pelicans.

Ingram is a wild card. He had a breakout 2018-19 season, posting 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Lakers. But a late season blood clot cost him time and is a concern moving forward.

What does this all mean for the Sacramento Kings?

The Pelicans are starting over with a young core, which includes Zion Williamson, the top overall selection in the upcoming draft. They lose a star, but they can reload quickly, especially if they can move the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft for another major piece.

After winning 33 games last season, there is a good chance the Pelicans take a step backwards next year. They have a young core to build around and a veteran in Holiday, but contending for a playoff spot won’t be easy next season.

Los Angeles is swinging for the fences. At 34 years old, LeBron James is getting long in the tooth by NBA standards. By adding Davis, while retaining Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers put themselves back on the map and changed their age arc considerably.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka also has somewhere between $27-32 million to play with in free agency, which is a good thing because his roster is filled with holes.

Expect LA to add substantial peices around James, Davis and Kuzma. They will come into the season as championship contenders and a tough divisional matchup for the Kings.

The Pacific Division just became a lot more difficult, which isn’t good news for Sacramento, although the Warriors are likely to slip from their perch.

Golden State has two major free agent pieces in Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. Thompson is likely to return on a max money contract, but an ACL injury in Game 6 has him missing most, if not all of the season.

Durant is out for next season with a ruptured Achilles. He could still opt in for $31.5 million next season while he rehabs. Whether Durant returns or not, the Warriors are still over the cap and are likely to take a substantial step backward, at least next season.

Sacramento has a young core in place and a $38 million to spend in free agency. There is an opportunity to improve their roster greatly with the right move this summer, but their rise in the standings still depends on the growth of players like De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley.

This group needs more help and this isn’t an offseason for the Kings to sit on their hands. Even before the Davis trade, Vlade Divac hoped to upgrade the center position. Now that the Kings play against the Lakers and their new star big four times a year, the position becomes even more important.

The Kings have high hopes for this season, including playoff aspirations. They can’t completely base their summer plans off of what happens with the Warriors or Lakers or any other team, but it’s clear one team in the Pacific Division just became a major player and Sacramento needs to do the same.

Former NBA player turned Kings scout Predrag Drobnjak stops by Sacramento


Former NBA player turned Kings scout Predrag Drobnjak stops by Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA draft process is entering its final week, and that means it’s time for the Kings to call all of their scouts back from afar and whittle the list to a handful of prospects for pick Nos. 40, 47 and 60.

During Wednesday’s workout, former player-turned-European scout Predrag Drobnjak was seated courtside next to longtime friends Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. Following the workout, he hit the floor, took some shots and showed off some of his old moves.

In his playing days, Drobnjak was known for his ability to knock down a long-range shot, and in Seattle, he became a bit of a cult hero for his television ads, which still can be found hidden deep on the internet.

There used to be an entire website devoted to Drobnjak and the Drobnjak Manjaks. Unfortunately, it no longer is available.