The Kings will take their first steps on the basketball court toward the 2012-13 season, and, as usual, the site will be Las Vegas.
The Kings released a roster of 19 players for next week's minicamp. The list will be trimmed to about 15 for the Kings' summer league schedule, which begins July 13 in Las Vegas.
The minicamp will run Monday through Thursday.
Second-year guard Jimmer Fredette and third-year center Hassan Whiteside are the only players from last season on the roster. Second-year forward Tyler Honeycutt would have had a big role this summer if not for a stress fracture in his right foot that will keep him sidelined.
Fredette, Whiteside and first-round draft choice Thomas Robinson will be featured prominently on the squad coached by regular-season assistants Bobby Jackson and Alex English.
Head coach Keith Smart recently visited with Fredette in Denver, where he was training. Smart said Fredette is eager to improve how he runs a team at point guard. The highly touted rookie out of BYU struggled at that last season.
"That's part of the position he's playing," Smart said. "He has to manage a team, direct players, and he's aware of that. And he still has to be himself."
Smart said in addition to working out Fredette, he watched film with him and showed him techniques to improve his defense.
Whiteside has played in only 19 games between stints in the NBA Development League and battling injuries.
Barring additions via free agency or trade, Whiteside will have the chance to become the shot-blocker the Kings seek.
"Now he's going to play, and we'll see how he does with his minutes and see how that translates to veteran camp," Smart said.
Smart said not having Honeycutt available is disappointing, especially after the young player had worked hard and added needed muscle.
"He was working out two to three times a day," Smart said. "He came back up here and started his workouts in Sacramento and got the news, and that puts him behind the 8-ball."
The Kings also have NBA veteran Darnell Jackson on the summer roster. The 6-foot-9 forward spent the 2010-11 season with Sacramento and played in Ukraine last season.
Jackson could help Robinson adjust to the speed and physical style of the NBA at power forward.
The summer league is primarily for young players, but Smart said Jackson, who has three years of NBA experience, will play an important role.
"You get a lot of rookies, and the next thing you know, you don't have anyone who can share legitimate experiences out there," Smart said.
One young player not on the roster is Isaiah Thomas. He ended the season as the Kings' starting point guard and was an All-NBA Rookie second-team selection.
Fredette will have plenty of opportunity to play while Thomas finishes his degree in American ethnic studies at Washington.
KINGS MINICAMP ROSTER
Players invited to pre-summer league practice. The roster will be trimmed before the July 13 opener.
|Josh Akognon||G||5-11||Cal State Fullerton||R|
|Augustus Gilchrist||F||6-10||South Florida||R|
|Darnell Jackson||F||6-9||BC Donetsk (Ukraine)||3|
|Dominique Johnson||G||6-3||D-League (Texas)||R|
|Jarrod Jones||F||6-9||Ball State||R|
|Rob Kurz||F||6-9||SLUC Nancy (France)||2|
|Michael Lee||F||6-9||BC Donetsk (Ukraine)||R|
|James Nunnally||G||6-7||UC Santa Barbara||R|
|Adrian Oliver||G||6-4||Aris B.C. (Greece)||R|
|Edgar Sosa||G||6-2||Sutor Montegranaro (Italy)||R|
KINGS SUMMER LEAGUE SCHEDULE
July 13 vs. Charlotte, 7 p.m., Cox Pavilion, NBATV
July 14 vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 5 p.m., Cox Pavilion, NBATV
July 16 vs. Houston, 3:30 p.m., Thomas & Mack Center, NBATV
July 18 vs. Toronto, 3:30 p.m., Thomas & Mack Center, NBATV
July 19 vs. Boston, 3:30 p.m., Thomas & Mack Center, NBATV