Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

October 19, 2006
Personal touch

From what I hear so far, the players are responding to first-year coach Eric Musselman. Because of how things unfolded in his two years at Golden State, the immediate question that arose when the Maloofs brought Musselman on board was regarding his ability to interact with his players – or, as Musselman calls it, “touch” a player, as in make a connection and have a good rapport. If his exchange with Kenny Thomas last week is any sort of indicator, then it’s so far, so good. When the Kings signed center Maurice Taylor, Musselman had the wherewithal to approach Thomas about the situation.

“Coach came and talked to me, and I respect that coach did that,” Thomas said last week. “The biggest thing is that he came and he told me. There’s a level of confidence and honesty, and I like that.”

Back here at home, I’m doing a bit of relationship building of my own (see previous blog). And while the doctor-recommended skin-to-skin contact is great for bonding between father and son, I’m thinking that wouldn’t translate to the coach-player experience. But otherwise, I’m noticing a few parallels between the two worlds.

Players, like kids, want to be fed. They like to be paid attention to when they cry. Teams tend to take on the personality of the coach, just like some kids with their parents. And, of course, if a baby or a baller is stinking up the joint, a change is in order that may require more than one wipe at it. There are no trades in parenting, though, nor should there be. But as I sit here typing near the little guy who’s wearing an outfit that reads “Instructions not included,” I know one thing. I could use a playbook right about now.

– Sam Amick

October 18, 2006
Easy, Ryder

If someone would have asked me 10 months ago where I’d be in October, the answer would be simple.

Courtside.

Whether at the Kings practice facility, or Arco Arena, the beginning of the NBA season would dictate my presence near all things basketball.

Things have changed, though, and I’m sitting crib-side instead of courtside these days, spending a few weeks doing daddy duty with the arrival of a first-born baby for my wife and I. It’s precious time, especially since the time will quickly come (Oct. 20) when saying goodnight will often come via web-cam from thousands of miles away and all matters of Artest & Co. will dominate my days.

Which is not to say I’m completely disconnected. Artest’s publicist recently sent a copy of his new CD, “My World,” to my home. I figured I’d give it a listen out of curiosity and just in case Ron pulled an Allen Iverson and dropped a “40 bars” sort of song that would grab headlines and create controversy. I found only comical coincidence, though, when I noticed that one of his tracks held the name of our newborn son, even spelled the same way – Ryder, as in low rider. And suddenly, I’m changing diapers while bobbing my head, with Artest’s voice in there somewhere (scary thought, huh?) singing “Ryder, Ryder…And all my ladies say…Ryder, Ryder…And all my fellas sing…Ryyyyyder.”

Speaking of scary, Artest’s CD comes out on Oct. 31, a Halloween debut on the eve of Kings regular season.

The team has much to determine between now and then, namely who starts at power forward (because it clearly matters to both Kenny Thomas and Shareef Abdur-Rahim) and whose name is called first behind Brad Miller. Loren Woods looked to be that guy until Kings prez Geoff Petrie signed Maurice Taylor, who is said to be versatile enough to play power forward and center.


--Sam Amick



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