No one feels sorry for Garrett Temple. Or Zach Randolph. Or George Hill. Or Kosta Koufos. Or Vince Carter.
No one feels sorry for someone making millions of dollars to play a game, even if its on a team that doesn’t do a lot of winning.
“You’re playing the best game in the world for a living, this is our job and it’s not never a job,” Temple said. “If you look at it from that perspective just come in everyday and try to get better, it’s all right. A lot of people have a lot tougher things to think about than starting a basketball season 1-7. They’ve got a lot of tough problems, so we’re grateful.”
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It’s really a no-win situation for the Sacramento’s five older guys. Yes, they were supposed to help on the court, but with them being held out at times for rest, or sitting entire fourth quarters in blowouts, their minutes and on-court impact is limited.
This is not to excuse poor play from the vets, but rather to be realistic about their situation.
That won’t stop the criticism. Nor does it make it any easier for them. They’re trying to figure out this rebuilding thing, too.
“I ain’t been through this,” Randolph said. “...We’re a young team with a young talent, so staying positive and keeping everybody together, that’s the main thing.”
The Kings entered Saturday on a six-game losing streak and as one of four teams with just one win this season.
But as long as the young players improve, that’s all that matters, right?
“I don’t think I’ve ever been through a start like this; it’s tough as competitors,” Temple said. “One of the reasons we got to this point is how we love to compete and love to win. A lot of this season is about more than wins and losses, it’s about development and trying to teach guys good habits. It’s a lot easier to teach that when you’re winning games. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to look at the big picture.”
The big picture is why Dave Joerger constantly refers to two years from now. It’s what keeps the veterans level-headed in what promises to be a long season.
“They’re young and we understand we’re rebuilding with young guys and it’s tough,” Randolph said. “It’s a tough go, especially when you’re a competitor and you’re used to winning, it’s tough. Just getting your mind adjusted, come out, and play hard every night, lead by example.”
Randolph still sees progress.
“Hell yeah,” said Randolph when asked if he liked the efforts of his young teammates. “I like it. We’ve just got to keep working. A work in progress – trust the process.”
Is there such a thing when you enter Saturday 1-7? Well there’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has cracked the starting lineup and leads the team with 1.4 steals per game.
Competitiveness on the court. The Kings’ minus-12.4 point differential entering Saturday is worst in the NBA. No other team has a differential greater than minus-10.
The Kings host Philadelphia Thursday. Sacramento hopes it can emulate the Sixers at some point by having collected enough young talent to potentially make the playoffs.
That’s the process, right?