COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. What was first met with apprehension by some players is now appreciated.
The Kings wrapped up training camp with two practices at the U.S. Olympic Training Center on Sunday.
The trip was designed to get the Kings isolated and focused on basketball while giving them a chance to become closer off the court.
The next challenge for the Kings will be keeping their focus in Sacramento after five days in Colorado.
"We've got to take that same philosophy back home with us as we start incorporating ourselves back into the daily life with family, friends and all that," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "I need to keep them in training camp mode all season long to try and reach the goals that we want. We've learned a lot about ourselves out here and (seen) the growth in our team."
Some of the growth took place on the court. Smart began implementing the basics of a new triangle offense and pressure defense.
Off the court, Smart arranged for the Kings to visit the Action Learning Center at the Broadmoor Resort, instead of practicing Friday, to participate in team-building exercises. The center helps businesses learn leadership and teamwork.
"I like the whole idea (of the trip)," said center DeMarcus Cousins. "Coming in, I was like, this is going to be a good thing. We've all grown closer, and we've still got a lot of work to do on the court. But off the court, it's just being there for one another."
Smart took over when Paul Westphal was fired in January and sensed some of the Kings' problems on the court could be tied to their lack of cohesion off it.
Smart believes to be a good team, the Kings must become more like a family.
"Coach's idea for us to come out here and get away, to an atmosphere we're not familiar with, was brilliant," said forward Chuck Hayes. "Out here, this is all we've got. We don't have no escapes.
"When we're in Sacramento, you've got your own little quiet spots you can go to. Out here, all you've got is your teammates, so you've got to stick with it."
The activities at the Broadmoor Resort required the Kings to work together and trust each other to complete physical tasks.
Smart believes those exercises, which included scaling walls and crossing tightropes together, will pay off on the court.
"The biggest thing is communication, just trying to work with each other," said forward Travis Outlaw. "Coming out here was all kind of strange to us but a great experience. And I think it's helping us.
"Everyone's trying to be patient with each other. We do argue sometimes, but we're right back to being friends. So I think it was a great trip."
On the court, Smart is pleased with the progress the Kings have made.
Players are eager to learn the new offensive sets and defensive principles.
Smart thought the Kings would be receptive, considering they arrived at camp ready to play.
"I didn't have to spend a lot of time with a lot of running to get guys in shape that was a huge plus for us," Smart said. "And then we got here, and we started bonding. Issues that we had, knowing that we'll face some of those, we were able to get those things under control out here."
It's time to see if they can keep them under control in Sacramento.