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.”

Blazers' Damian Lillard vouches for play-in tournament when NBA resumes

Blazers' Damian Lillard vouches for play-in tournament when NBA resumes

It remains unclear and unknown when or how the NBA season will resume. The Kings, currently 28-36 and on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, are awaiting word on if and when their season will continue.

One thing is clear, though: Damian Lillard won't play games amid the coronavirus pandemic if his Portland Trail Blazers aren't given a true shot at the playoffs. 

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team," Lillard said to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now.

"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games.

The Blazers have played 66 games so far this season. Lillard refuses to be a part of a ploy to get to 70 games, which is the minimum to fulfill regional television deals. But if there's a chance to win a ring, he's all-in.

"If they come back and say it's something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we're playing for playoff spots, then I think that's perfect," Lillard said.

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

There are a number of ways the NBA can go to continue the season. Will all teams be involved? Will there be a play-in tournament that Lillard suggested, or a 16-team tournament regardless of conferences? What about the teams on the outside looking in?

That includes Portland and the Kings. The Blazers (29-37) currently are the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference, percentage points ahead of the Kings (28-36).

Sacramento hasn't made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season. Circumstances be damned, the Kings would love a crack at the postseason.

[RELATED: How NBA's Orlando scenarios impact Kings' playoff hopes]

The Kings are 2-2 against Lillard and the Blazers this season, and last played Portland on March 7 when Bogdan Bogdanovic's 27 points led Sacramento to a 123-111 win on the road.

All remains a mystery right now. The only way Lillard is playing games, however, is if they can compete for a championship. It's easy to see other players around the league sharing his same feelings, too.

Kings' 10 best NBA draft picks since team moved to Sacramento in 1985

Kings' 10 best NBA draft picks since team moved to Sacramento in 1985

Two weeks ago we looked at 10 of the biggest blunders in Sacramento Kings draft history. There were plenty to choose from over the 35 years the team has been in Sacramento, but it hasn’t been all bad for the Kings.

Despite having poor luck in the NBA draft lottery, the Kings have mined for talent and come up huge a few times during their three and half decades in Sacramento.

In no particular order, here is a look at 10 of the biggest draft successes during the Sacramento era of Kings basketball.


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