Finding consistency when the Kings go to their bench has been a struggle this season.
Ramon Sessions was signed to help stabilize the second unit but struggled and has been out with a lower back strain. Rookie Nik Stauskas, like most first-year players, has been up-and-down.
Omri Casspi got off to a good start but has been dogged by a knee injury, which has allowed Derrick Williams to play more of late. Ray McCallum also has played more with Sessions out.
Of the reserves, Carl Landry is the one player who has played and produced consistently in his role off the bench.
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So with the season nearly at the halfway point, Kings coach Tyrone Corbin is still trying to figure out the best way to maximize his reserves.
Injuries have thrown things off, but the rotation remains in flux as Corbin settles on what he wants to see from the bench.
“We’re mixing a lot of pieces,” Corbin said. “We want to make sure we’re not losing a lot.”
Making sure the Kings don’t lose too much ground with the reserves usually means keeping one or two of their key players on the court with the second unit.
For Friday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena, Rudy Gay and Darren Collison played the entire first quarter while DeMarcus Cousins rested to make sure he was ready to play with second unit.
“We’re trying to mix the guys in and keep some guys on the floor with different combinations of guys,” Corbin said. “So as we grow that, we want to make sure we’re not losing momentum and actually increasing some advantage when the second group is in the ballgame.”
Trying to sort out the bench rotation without a full complement of players is another challenge for Corbin.
Sessions has missed the last eight games with his injury. Casspi sat out his fourth game in a row with a left knee bone contusion.
“They’re getting better,” Corbin said. “Ramon got on the floor a little bit this morning and didn’t feel great, so he pulled back.”
Corbin said Casspi is still unable to do any work on the court. He’s missed eight games overall because of his knee.
Folsom honored – Members of Folsom High School’s CIF State Division I championship football team were recognized by the Kings during Friday’s game.
The Bulldogs went 16-0 and set a number of national scoring records. The Kings have recognized previous area state football champions, including Grant in 2008, Folsom in 2010 and Granite Bay in 2012.