Kings notes: Players learning to share the ball

Published: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7C
Last Modified: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 - 2:59 pm

SANTA BARBARA – It has been hard to describe the Kings' offense in recent years without using the word "selfish."

Though they have had scorers, sharing the ball has been problematic.

That's why the Kings traded for Greivis Vasquez, hoping the pass-first point guard could help make sharing a key element of a team that averaged 20.8 assists last season, 25th in the NBA.

For the Kings to improve this season, they must avoid overdribbling and one-on-one play.

With the first week of training camp nearly complete, center DeMarcus Cousins said the team is making progress.

"First of all, we're sharing the ball," Cousins said. "There's not as much (isolation), we're getting assists, and we have automatic sets we're getting into now. But the biggest thing is us sharing the ball."

Cousins said the Kings' focus in Thursday's practice was offense. The emphasis most of the offseason has been on fixing the defense, which allowed a league-high 105.1 points per game last season.

Some of the defensive problems can be alleviated by a more efficient offense. The Kings' habit of taking contested shots has led to easy scoring opportunities for opponents.

Cousins said he likes what he has seen of new coach Michael Malone's offense and that he still will be in position to shoot midrange jump shots.

"We kind of put (the offense) in, and we're now in the process of smoothing it out and running it a lot better than we did the day before," Cousins said. "That's just the main focus, getting better each day with the offense."

Three-point shootout – With the Kings practicing at UC Santa Barbara, students have been gathering near the gym to catch a glimpse of the players.

Students were invited Thursday to watch a three-point-shooting contest involving Cousins, Jimmer Fredette and Ben McLemore against two students.

The students shot from the college three-point line and had a third player, Kings adviser Chris Mullin, who said he was a "16th-year senior" at UCSB.

Mullin put on a show, making 14 of 15 three-point shots, reminding many of the students that he was an elite shooter in the NBA.

"We might need to sign him to a little 10-day (contract) or something," Cousins said. "Mullin can shoot the cover off of it. He's a Hall of Famer for a reason."

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