SACRAMENTO -- Sneakers squeaking. The thud of the ball bouncing off the hardwood. The clang of iron and the silky sound of a swish. Basketball is back.
The Kings opened training camp Tuesday morning at the team’s practice facility attached to Golden 1 Center. When media was ushered in, the players streaked up and down the court running an advanced version of the three-man weave.
Sweat poured as they tried to shake off the summer rust. In the middle of it all was head coach Dave Joerger imploring his young group with an already raspy voice.
The Kings are going to push the tempo. If someone isn’t getting the message, they aren’t going to play -- it’s that simple. Here are some of the highlights from the first day of camp.
- The focus in Sacramento is on developing the young players this year. There will be nights when the wheels completely fall off the bus, and other times when the Kings run their opponents off the floor.“The fun is in the journey, and this is a year that there’s a lot of heavy lifting,” Joerger said following Day 1. “There’s a lot of development that needs to occur and there are going to be some pains in it, but the fun part of it is we have good guys who work hard and play hard, and they’re fun to be around.”
- Sprinting up and down the court was no issue for speedster De’Aaron Fox. He was ready for the challenge, although some of his teammates might not have been. “Day 1 is crazy,” Fox said. “A lot of times they try and test you. We ran a lot today. They were just testing a few people and emphasizing that we are going to get up and down the court. We’re going to play fast and guys have to be in shape to do it."
- Fox is trying to make a huge jump forward in his second NBA season. The team is putting the 20-year-old out front and letting him find his way as both a player and as the face of the franchise. “Rookie season is over,” Fox said. “Guys are actually listening and guys are looking to me. So I’ve got to have those answers and I’ve got to be able to help people.”
- Buddy Hield is built for the up-tempo style. He loves to shoot the 3-ball and he’s looking forward to taking another step forward in his progression as a player. “Coach says we’re going to play fast and start running, and I like running, so I’m not going to argue with that,” Hield said following practice. “We’ve just got to play fast, play together and play the right way.”
- Nemanja Bjelica is one of a few new faces on the Kings roster. He came to Sacramento, in part, to play with his close friend and countryman, Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Serbian combo forward will have to fend for himself while Bogdanovic recovers from Monday’s knee surgery, but he likes what he sees so far. “First day is always tough, but we have, like, great chemistry, guys are ready to work,” Bjelica said.
Sacramento is scheduled to practice in the morning and the evenings throughout the week. They’ll open back up to the media for the morning session on Wednesday, where the coaching staff will likely continue to run the young Kings until they can run no more.
Day 1 training camp: Pushing the tempo. pic.twitter.com/PUhZw5gcDd— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) September 25, 2018
Spirited first day in Sac. pic.twitter.com/NGHO8BiGpv— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) September 25, 2018