George Karl will gladly take a seat and observe.
His assistant coaches will be in charge of the Kings’ three-day minicamp, which starts Tuesday at their practice facility, and their Las Vegas Summer League team, which opens play Friday.
Chad Iske and John Welch will be co-head coaches, assisted by Corliss Williamson and Vance Walberg.
“I’m a big believer in that in the summer I let my assistants do most of the work,” Karl said shortly after the NBA draft. “It’s not that I don’t want to work, but I think my voice needs to be heard when it counts. In the summer, I’ll be there as more of a supervisor than as a dictator.”
The focus will be on Willie Cauley-Stein, drafted sixth overall last month. The 7-foot-1 center, best known for his defense, will have an opportunity to work on his offense.
I think Willie has shown in college in pick-and-roll situations he can do almost anything. He can drop; he can be a shot blocker. He can be out on the floor, creating turnovers, getting deflections.
Kings coach George Karl on Willie Cauley-Stein
As a junior last season at Kentucky, Cauley-Stein averaged 8.9 points, his highest total with the Wildcats. On a team loaded with NBA-caliber talent, scoring wasn’t Cauley-Stein’s primary concern. Karl believes the NBA game and its greater spacing will provide chances for Cauley-Stein to be a factor offensively.
“The games are different; the games are faster; the games have more speed,” Karl said. “The games have more ... men, for lack of a better phrase. In the end, we probably tilted our priorities toward the defensive, but as I say, we don’t look at him solely as a defensive player. We think he can be a total player.”
The Kings must improve their defense and are counting on Cauley-Stein’s versatility.
“I think Willie has shown in college in pick-and-roll situations he can do almost anything,” Karl said. “He can drop; he can be a shot blocker. He can be out on the floor, creating turnovers, getting deflections.”
Cauley-Stein can defend smaller players on the perimeter, too.
“They switched a lot of pick-and-rolls (at Kentucky), and I didn’t see many guards have success getting by him,” Karl said.
The Kings’ summer league roster includes four players who appeared in games for them last season. Power forward-center Eric Moreland made Sacramento’s opening-night roster as an undrafted rookie out of Oregon State, but shoulder surgery prematurely ended his season. Guard David Stockton was called up twice from the Reno Bighorns, the Kings’ NBA Development League affiliate, and finished the season with the Kings. Center Sim Bhullar and power forward David Wear were in training camp with Sacramento last year and were promoted from the Bighorns on 10-day contracts.
I’m a big believer in that in the summer I let my assistants do most of the work. It’s not that I don’t want to work, but I think my voice needs to be heard when it counts. In the summer, I’ll be there as more of a supervisor than as a dictator.
Kings coach George Karl
Also on the roster are guard James Anderson, signed by the Kings last week, and guard Julyan Stone, who played for Karl in Denver and last played in the NBA with Toronto during the 2013-14 season.
The Kings are the defending champions of the summer league, which will use the same format for the third consecutive year. Each team will play three games before being seeded for the championship tournament.
Last season’s title team received a big boost from several regulars, including guards Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum and forward Quincy Acy. That won’t be the case in this summer of player development.
“From now until October, we work our tails off to make them better basketball players,” Karl said.
KINGS SUMMER LEAGUE ROSTER
New Mex. State