SAN DIEGO -- All eyes turned to the court today on the campus of the University of California San Diego as the Sacramento Kings opened their 2015-16 training camp. The goal is to survive a week in the gym without a major injury and so far so good.
Newcomer Rajon Rondo began the day with the second unit, as did Omri Casspi. DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufos, Darren Collison and Ben McLemore saw a lot of time on the floor together.
Seth Curry looked confident, taking shots all over the court both off the dribble and as a catch and shoot player. Rookie Duje Dukan wasn’t bashful about hoisting shots either, but he didn’t find the bottom of the net during the stretch the media was able to watch.
The team showed good early chemistry as they ran up and down the court. You could hear coaches yelling for the pace to increase and once or twice a countdown began when the ball stuck in one spot for too long.
Bigs battle for starting job:
George Karl has plenty of options both in the backcourt and in the post. After finishing the season with a bare cupboard last year, he might even have too many options to open the new campaign.
“This roster might have, I hate to say, it might have too many players,” Karl told a handful of media members. “I don’t know, I think I can get nine or 10 deep in a rotation, but there are probably more than nine or 10 guys right now that think they’re going to play.”
Who starts alongside Cousins in the post is one of the more intriguing battles that will play out in camp. Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein is green, but Karl has options in the form of Gay and Koufos.
“We have different looks, we have different types of big men,” Cousins said. “Willie’s a young athletic big man. We’ve go Kosta who’s a banger and I’m my specific kind of big man. I think we have different looks. I think it’s going to be good in the end.”
After the first day, one player picked up a few points in the competition with coach Karl.
“Kosta played pretty well,” Karl added. “He’s a better player than he was when I had him in Denver. My gut says I thought he played well with Cuz.”
The competition will heat up as we get closer to the start of the regular season.
“I think everybody is going to get their opportunity,” Karl said. “I think everybody knows that I would like to play Rudy some at four. What’s our best team? I don’t know.”
Cousins looks relaxed:
There is no question that Cousins wears his heart on his sleeve. But at 25-years-old, he is becoming a veteran and the maturation is noticeable. For the first time in his career, he is surrounded by players with as much experience or more and it appears to have eased his mind a bit.
“This is probably one of the oldest teams I’ve ever been on,” Cousins said. “Usually I’m with a young team. The whole team is basically young and we might have two veterans. This is a more veteran oriented team with a little mixture of young guys. I think it’s a perfect mixture.”
Despite his penchant for running hot, Cousins has been the defacto leader of the Kings for sometime. That trend will continue, but the new additions brought in by Vlade Divac will help take some of the burden off Cousins this season.
“It sounds all good to say, ‘I’m the leader of this team’, but in order for this thing to happen, I’m going to need everybody,” Cousins said. “It’s not just about my voice, it’s going to be about my voice, Rondo’s voice, Rudy’s voice, Caron’s voice. Even when these rookies see something that’s going to benefit the team, his voice counts as well. It’s not about one voice.”
What in the devil is he doing here?
Former Kings big man Olden Polynice was in attendance today at the behest of coach George Karl. Polynice drove down from his Los Angeles home and plans on spending a few days with the team while they are in Southern California.