Sacramento Kings blog

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

The longest-tenured King and the oldest King are impressing the coaching staff.

That’s the word from coach Michael Malone after Tuesday’s practice.

Reggie Evans, the veteran power forward acquired in February from Brooklyn, and Jason Thompson in his seventh season with the Kings are standouts since training camp began last Saturday.

“Reggie Evans, 34 years-old and Jason Thompson, 28, been here for a long time, MVPs of the camp,” Malone said. “They’ve both come in with great mindsets and unbelievable shape and more importantly just their leadership, the example they set. We have a lot of new guys and for Reggie and Jason to come in and play as hard as they have has really lifted our camp. I think it’s important for everybody to know Jason and Reggie have been unbelievable to this point and my hope his they continue to do so.”

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Kathy Willens/ AP
Dominican Republic forward Orlando Sanchez (16) defends as U.S. forward Rudy Gay protects the ball during the first half of an exhibition basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. The United States won 105-62.
Rudy Gay
Alvaro Barrientos/AP
Rudy Gay of the US dunks the ball during the Group C Basketball World Cup match against Dominican Republic, in Bilbao, northern Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. The 2014 Basketball World Cup competition take place in various cities in Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14. (

The Kings search for a power forward could lead them to be very creative this season.

The chatter of positionless basketball means there will be some unique lineups on the court. A point guard could find himself with four players all 6-foot-8 and taller if the Kings go with a big lineup.

One thing you can expect is to see the starting small forward, Rudy Gay, play power forward as the Kings look to find ways to play faster this season.

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Jose Luis Villegas/jvillegas@sacbee.com
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins shakes hands with head coach Michael Malone during a timeout in the fourth quarter on Friday night, January 10, 2014 between the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic at Sleep Train Arena.
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Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua@sacbee.com
Kings head coach Michael Malone won’t focus on the summer league championship, but he doesn’t expect the Kings to be beaten like they were last year.

There has been so much talk about the Kings’ offense, you might think the Kings were completely incompetent on offense last season.

Yes, the three-point shooting was bad and the the Kings were last in assists. The Kings averaged 100.5 points, 17th in the league.

But the Kings allowed 103.4 points per game, 24th in the NBA. Sacramento was 20th in the league in opponent’s field goal percentage at 46.1 percent.

The Kings made a lot of changes in the offseason. Six players return from the team that finished last season.

If you didn’t like watching the Kings play offense last season, you’re not alone.

Kings coach Michael Malone and the rest of the organization didn’t enjoy the dribbling, standing, lack-of-passing offense that led to many bad shots.

Malone said is drilling that message home which began with the first practice of training camp Saturday at the team’s practice facility.

“How we played offensively is unacceptable,” Malone said of last season. “Whether it be the system, the plays, but more importantly moving the basketball. Be unselfish, don’t hold (the basketball). We want to trust the pass, have the type of mentality. And if you’re holding the ball, you’re wrong. If you’re standing you’re wrong.”

There have been many times in speaking with DeMarcus Cousins over the last four years he’d say he wasn’t much of a shot blocker.

There was always a hint of humor in those comments, but for years Cousins had always been told he wasn’t a good defender.

Those who know him have always said he has the instincts, smarts and was athletic enough to be a good defender. Now Cousins believes that.

Coming off his efforts with Team USA during the FIBA World Cup, Cousins returns to the Kings knowing he can impact games on defense just as forcefully as he does on offense.

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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ pkitagaki@sacbee.com
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) and Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson (34) walks to bench during a game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Sleep Train Arena Sunday April 6, 2014 in Sacramento.

It's Media Day for the Sacramento Kings, and before Jason Jones headed out to speak with the team, he hosted a live chat. Replay it here.

Access the live chat from mobile devices here.

Live chat: Kings begin preparations for 2014-15 season, 11 a.m. Sept. 26

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Jose Luis Villegas/ jvillegas@sacbee.com
Sacramento Kings forward Reggie Evans (30) tries to slow down Los Angeles Lakers guard Kendall Marshall (12) after loosing the ball in the first quarter on Wednesday April 2, 2014 in the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

The Kings have a lot of power forwards. But they don’t have one they’d call their solution at the position for years to come.

Here’s how position breaks down:

• Reggie Evans: The veteran of the group who might be the best fit to play next to DeMarcus Cousins. Hes’ a defender, rebounder and won’t be looking to take shots away from the other four starters.

• Jason Thompson: Yes, he’s still a King. His name will be in nearly every trade rumor, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he ended up starting at power forward (again). The coaching staff, however, seemed to like Thompson as a backup at power forward and center.

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Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua@sacbee.com
Rudy Gay talks about resigning with the Kings after the team's game against the Charlotte Hornets in their NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 13, 2014.

We could spend a lot of time rattling off the names of players who have been starting small forwards for the Kings since Ron Artest was traded in 2008.

But we don’t have that kind of time.

The Kings finally found their answer at small forward last season when they traded for Rudy Gay.

In Gay, the Kings found the right cross for their 1-2 punch along with DeMarcus Cousins.

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Jose Luis Villegas/ Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore (16) drives to the basket against the Detroit Pistons during a 2013 game. Is McLemore the answer at shooting guard for the Kings this season?

The Kings gave Ben McLemore every opportunity to play a lot of minutes to end his rookie season in 2013-14.

McLemore finished last season as the starting shooting guard. It’s not like the Kings had a choice.

After trading Marcus Thornton and releasing Jimmer Fredette, there weren’t any other off guards.

Naturally with more playing time and experience, McLemore’s production picked up. He averaged 32.8 minutes in 29 games after the All-Star break after registering 23.3 minutes per game in his first 53 games.

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Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua@sacbee.com
Los Angeles Clippers point guard Darren Collison (2) congratulates Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) after their preseason game on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 at Sleep Train Arena.
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Sue Ogrocki/The Associated Press
Darren Collison, entering his sixth season, said of the Kings: “I liked their vision for me. … Sacramento is giving me the keys to help this team and try to turn it around.”

How can losing a player that averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists be good for a team?

That’s something the Kings have to answer this season.

The Kings’ decision to not keep Thomas (who was dealt to Phoenix in a sign-and-trade) and instead sign Darren Collison in July was criticized by fans and journalists.

Why?

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Chris Szagola/ The Associated Press
The Kings have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with Ramon Sessions, giving them options at point guard.

Point guard has been an emphasis with the Kings this offseason.

The team seriously considered drafting Elfrid Payton before signing Darren Collison and made no secret that adding another ballhandler would be a priority before the start of training camp.

The Kings did that Saturday by reaching an agreement with guard Ramon Sessions.

Sessions agreed to a two-year deal worth $4.2 million, with the Kings using the biannual exception because the team is over the salary cap, league sources confirmed because the deal had not been officially announced.

G1031KN98.2Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./ pkitagaki@sacbee.com
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) and Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson (34) walks to bench during a game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Sleep Train Arena Sunday April 6, 2014 in Sacramento.

With training camp opening Sept. 27, we take a look at questions the Kings will have address during the preseason.

We start with center, where there are no questions about who will hold the position down for Sacramento.

It’s all about who will play when Boogie is on the bench for a breather.

DeMarcus Cousins had one of the most dominant individual seasons in recent years for the Kings, averaging 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in 32.4 minutes.

Kings Blog Archives

Note: The Kings blog switched blog platforms in December 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.


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