There was a moment that occurred in the second half to Tuesday’s win over Portland that I’ve witnessed several times covering the Kings since 2009.
There was a mistake on the court. Some kind of communication or execution breakdown. Isaiah Thomas and Rudy Gay were demonstratively trying to sort it out walking up the court.
To outsiders, it might look like an in-game argument, but it was really tame, especially considering how the Kings have bickered at each other in the past.
What I saw that was different was Aaron Gray’s reaction.
Gray stood up from the bench and clapped for his teammates and encouraged them to keep playing.
Small gesture? Sure. But on a team where respect for teammates and opponents is in need, it’s something the Kings could use a lot more of going forward.
The Kings have been quick to play the blame game when things go wrong, but not so quick to offer encouragement during those times. It’s not to say that was the first time a King had kind words for a teammate, but it doesn’t happen enough in those situations.
Gray’s applause isn’t going to turn the season around. But it’s a sign that some players understand some of the basics of being a good teammate. It’s probably no coincidence Gray wasn’t a King until this season, too. He’s been around one of the best leaders in basketball, Chris Paul, and has an idea how a team should function.
Let’s just see if Gray’s actions can become the norm.