Kings

Young Kings look to get out and run: 'It’s going to be a fun way to play'

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AP

Young Kings look to get out and run: 'It’s going to be a fun way to play'

Since the moment Vivek Ranadivé purchased the Sacramento Kings, he’s begged, if not openly demanded that the team push the tempo. Under Michael Malone, the word “pace” became the beginning and end of every sentence. It carried through the George Karl era, but there was very little talk about the speed of the game under Dave Joerger last season.

To force the action only took away from the franchise’s primary strength, All-Star big man, DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings weren’t built to run. Cousins wasn’t built to run. Pushing the tempo only put more stress on the 6-foot-11, 280-pound center.
Cousins is now out of the picture and Sacramento has the assets to crank up the speed of the game. If the early views of training camp are any indication, that is exactly what they plan to do.

With the point guard position featuring veteran George Hill and rookie De’Aaron Fox, the Kings have plenty of quickness to run and gun. They also have fresh legs up and down the roster, including young bigs that can get out and move.

“They always tell me to stay in attack mode,” Fox told NBC Sports California. “Anytime a ball comes off the glass or even a made basket, they want me to initiate the offense and just try to push and attack first.”

With Fox’s ability to get up and down the floor, he needs options that can run the court with him. Sacramento is blessed with bigs that can really move, including Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, Harry Giles and Kosta Koufos. Even 7-foot-1 Georgios Papagiannis can fly up and down the court for a man his size.

“It takes pressure off of me,” Fox said about the speed of his bigs. “I don’t have to use as much energy to try and beat everybody down the court when I know my big will beat his opponent big down the floor.”

The Kings hope to be a hard-nosed defensive team that plays the passing lanes and hustles. While the defensive numbers weren’t great last season, they have added more length and quickness this summer. Despite the 33-win season, they developed into a team that fought from beginning to end of each game, which is something they hope to carry over into this campaign.

“We’re going to be a team that works hard, that gets after you,” veteran Garrett Temple said on Tuesday. “And we’re going to be a team that respects the game. We’re going to be a pretty fast team, we’re going to get out and run. And it’s going to be a fun way to play basketball.”

The grit and grind that Joerger brought with him from Memphis will show up here and there when the team features veteran Zach Randolph. At 36, Randolph isn’t out shopping for track shoes, but there is definitely a niche for him with the current team make up.

“Zach is fired up about running,” Joerger said with a smile. “We just tell Z-Bo, you get the rebound, you huck it and we’ll go like heck and if we don’t have anything, we’ll bring it over to the big fella.”

Randolph played solid minutes for Memphis last season and brings something that the Kings’ other bigs lack. To use a basketball term, players like Cauley-Stein and Labissiere are “light in the rear-end,” which is not the case for Z-Bo. Randolph can show them the ropes of establishing position early and holding the spot, but they both need to continue to fill out and get stronger.

Until the bigs get more comfortable holding their position, it’s likely that Joerger will turn to Randolph down the stretch of games. He is one of the more established low post threats in the game and his 18-20 foot jumper is pure.

“I think we all know that games are won in halfcourt in the last six minutes, so you want to be able to execute and lay that down too,” Joerger said. “Guys are learning. It’s a little bit different for some guys.”

Joerger and his staff are putting in more and more sets as camp goes on, but they are limiting the younger players' options to help simplify the offense. The first line of attack is to push the tempo. If that fails to yield a hoop, then the Kings will turn to simplified play sets and add more wrinkles as time permits.

Expect plenty of wild, end-to-end hoops. Also expect plenty of mistakes as the Kings try to mask their inexperience by running their opponents into the ground.

Kings notes: Sacramento pushes the tempo on first day of training camp

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USATSI

Kings notes: Sacramento pushes the tempo on first day of training camp

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. 

Kings lead nonpartisan voter registration drive

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AP

Kings lead nonpartisan voter registration drive

SACRAMENTO -- Bigger than basketball. It’s a mantra that has played out many times in Sacramento and the Kings are dusting off the message again for National Voter Registration Day with their “Rally the Vote” push.   

The Kings are one of nine professional franchises teaming up for a nonpartisan coalition urging their fans to register to vote before the November primaries.

Joining the Kings in the effort are the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants. 

As of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 87.9 million Americans eligible to vote who are not registered. Through teams mobile apps, websites and social media channels, a platform for fans has been created to register fans to vote. 

“If we can make buying a ticket to a sporting event accessible in a few clicks, there is no reason why registering to vote shouldn’t be the same,” Vivek Ranadivé, Owner and Chairman of the Sacramento Kings said via a prepared statement. “Voting is one of the most important things we do as Americans and is central to our democracy, yet tens of millions of people are not registered to vote. Sports teams have a responsibility to enact positive change in their communities, and I’m proud to see so many of us coming together to help fans register to vote so that they can have a voice in elections.”

The group of franchises have partnered with Democracy Works, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses technology to make voting easier. 

Marvin Bagley III has filmed a PSA for the registration drive which will air in the arena during the Kings’ preseason matchups against Maccabi Haifa on Oct. 8 and the Utah Jazz on Oct. 11 and again during the season opener against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 17.

The deadline to register in the upcoming election in California is Oct. 22. To register to vote through Rally the Vote, visit RallyTheVote.TurboVote.org.