LAS VEGAS -- Kings forward Derrick Williams was not at the team’s first minicamp practices Monday at Spring Valley High School.
Williams was excused for personal reasons and is expected to be in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning.
Williams, the secondpick in the 2011 NBA draft, was asked to play in the summer league to work on his game as he heads into his fourth NBA season. He is in the final year of his contract, and the Kings hope he can become more consistent and a key member of the rotation.
After being acquired from Minnesota, Williams got off to a good start with the Kings but struggled after roster moves changed his role. He averaged 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in 67 games. In 15 starts, he averaged 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds, but those numbers dropped to 6.9 and 3.4, respectively, after the Kings acquired Rudy Gay, who replaced Williams in the starting lineup.
High ceiling – Kings coach Michael Malone was an assistant for two seasons for Golden State, where he worked with guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, two of the best perimeter shooters in the NBA.
Malone believes Nik Stauskas, selected in the first round by the Kings last month, has the potential for improvement similar to that of the Warriors’ “Splash Brothers.”
“The scary thing is, he’s only going to become a better shooter,” Malone said. “I was with Klay and Steph in Golden State, and those guys were good shooters coming into the NBA, and they just became that much better. I foresee Nik Stauskas having that same kind of progression.”
Malone told Stauskas before practice not to try to “do too much” and to play relaxed. That wasn’t easy for Stauskas.
“I was hesitating too much and just didn’t know when to take my shots when they were there,” Stauskas said. “That will come with just feeling the game out.”
Et cetera – Malone is still interviewing candidates as he seeks a veteran assistant coach to replace his father, Brendan, who resigned before last season.
• Reno Bighorns coach Joel Abelson and assistant Tyrone Ellis are helping with practice. The Bighorns are the Kings’ NBA Development League affiliate.