Kings point guard Ty Lawson continues to play with confidence through training camp and the preseason, impressing coach Dave Joerger.
Lawson remained in the starting lineup for the Kings’ third preseason game when the Kings hosted Maccabi Haifa of Israel on Monday night in the first game at Golden 1 Center.
Joerger liked Lawson’s defense against Golden State star Stephen Curry, including constantly chasing the ever-moving Curry over screens. Joerger called Lawson’s defensive effort “impressive.”
Joerger also likes the intangibles Lawson brings.
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“He has good leadership qualities,” Joerger said. “You can tell why he’s been a winner.”
Lawson’s speed gives the Kings an extra dynamic on offense, too.
Some might have thought Lawson lost a step after he struggled last season with Houston and Indiana. The Kings have seen no sign that Lawson is slower.
“It was always a pain to play him because once he gets away from you, he goes north and south very well,” Joerger said.
Still impressing – Ben McLemore’s improvement over the offseason was the talk of coaches and the front office, to the point that teams interested in the fourth-year guard have been told he is unavailable.
It has long been assumed the athletic McLemore could develop into a good defender. That’s where Joerger sees McLemore making strides in training camp.
“He’s been very solid, learning the system,” Joerger said. “He feels good, I think; he feels confident. I think that’s all very positive and just try to lay (the foundation) down over the long haul when the bumps come.”
Those bumps often come in the form of shooting slumps. McLemore can’t allow an off-shooting night to affect his defense.
“Your confidence can come and go with your shot as your shot goes in and out,” Joerger said. “But he finds it in other places – running the floor, getting deflections. He’s very athletic, a very strong young guy.”
Same focus – Even though Maccabi is not an NBA team, the Kings believe they can take a lot away from the game.
“It’s all the same,” Joerger said. “Whoever you play, you’re trying to get better. No matter what the score is, no matter who you’re playing from your roster, you’re trying to get better. That’s always the goal for every preseason game.”
New surroundings – Golden 1 is new to everyone with the Kings.
So the preseason isn’t just about making sure things on the court are tightened up, it’s also about finding their way around a new building.
“Routine is the biggest thing for professional athletes,” Joerger said. “Where do we get this done; where do we get taped? We’re just trying to work it out and go through the process, and we’ve got to do it quickly because we play 11 games in 17 nights and there’s only two preseason games (at Golden 1).”
The Kings’ final tuneup at Golden 1 is Oct. 18 against the Los Angeles Clippers.