The Kings’ experiment of point guards Darren Collison and Ty Lawson in the backcourt together during Monday night’s preseason was fun to watch.
That was the first time coach Dave Joerger tried the lineup in a practice or game situations.
Even though it was enjoyable to watch the two fastest Kings dart past Maccabi Haifa, Joerger isn’t spending much practice time experimenting.
It’s still about the Kings mastering the basics.
“Practices are more so to get our stuff down first,” Joerger said. “And then start playing with guys in those different looks.”
The learning process continues with Thursday night’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It’s the second time in four preseason games the Kings will see the Lakers, but there’s no intrigue about facing a division foe again when the games do not count.
“Not really,” Joerger said of any heightened attention to the Lakers. “They’re playing really well. They’re believing and they’re buying in and the times that I’ve caught them playing, they’ve been very effective.”
Joerger is more concerned with the Kings and how they pick up a new offense and defense before the regular season begins. He continues to be pleased with the Kings’ effort to pick up what’s being taught while being open to trying new looks that have not been practiced.
Lawson thought playing with Collison was fun.
“The pace was picked up,” Lawson said. “Think our pressure on the defensive end was picked up and we was getting a lot of easy shots.”
Lawson said the Kings just need to continue to become more familiar with each other, especially on offense, where players have to learn where each other is most comfortable.
Joerger does not expect that to happen quickly.
“It won’t be a finished product by game one,” Joerger said. “It’s going to be a season-long deal. But I’m impressed. The guys are mentally focused and they’re working hard.”
Now into the third week of training camp, the Kings have remained attentive while the coaching staff sorts out which players fit best in certain lineups.
Joerger has said more than once it will be easy to “Monday morning quarterback” his decisions during the season because so many of his players have comparable talent. The fight for playing time has kept players engaged, even as camp moves along.
“They’ve stayed focused, and there’s good competition for spots,” Joerger said. “And they’re doing it in a professional way where they’re going out to make the other guy better, and that’s in the spirit of a team and that’s always positive.”
Thoughts back home – Kings forward Skal Labissiere is doing his best to stay focused on basketball after his native Haiti deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
“My family is doing well, friends doing well,” Labissiere said. “We’re still working some things, but that’s about it.”
Some reports have the death toll reaching more than 1,000 with even more people dealing with sickness after last week’s hurricane.
Health update – Joerger said the Kings are in good health midway through their preseason schedule. He said forward Matt Barnes is fine after dealing with a minor knee issue.
Forward Omri Casspi has been ill recently, too. But overall, the Kings are in good health as they prepare for their two-game trip.
The Kings play the Washington Wizards at the University of Kentucky on Saturday. Labissiere, DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein played college basketball at Kentucky.