Kings Blog and Q&A

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

October 8, 2007
Making a point

As an add-on of sorts to today's piece on Mustafa Shakur, there's plenty more to say about the backup point guard competition.
It's relevant for a few reasons. First, coach Reggie Theus has made his message known that poor defensive play will limit a player's minutes - no matter who that player is. And if history repeats itself with Mike Bibby, that means he might not be asked to carry as heavy a load as in years passed (which could be a good thing for his body, by the way). Secondly, the minutes of John Salmons and Francisco Garcia could be affected here, too. If Theus doesn't find a backup he wants to routinely rely on, he'll plug the hole with guys who can bring the ball up - a la Garcia and Salmons. And so far, he doesn't seem impressed by any of the point men.
On the other hand, the players themselves all seemed pleased with their play.
"I'm getting really confident playing this position, learning all the plays and learning everybody's position," second-year guard and backup point guard candidate Quincy Douby said. "I just feel real confident. I definitely feel I can play this position."
From watching scrimmages, Douby's offense and control has been impressive. He should be given a longer leash under Theus, in part because he's a second-year guy now and in part because Theus appears to be much more willing to rely on youth than Eric Musselman was. Something to keep in mind while watching Douby is that he fashions his game in the line of Jason Terry, the speedy, shifty, Mavs point who has a similar body to Douby's.
In addition to Douby and Shakur, third-year player and free agent signee Orien Greene is also in the mix. Greene's challenge is to prove he's more than a defender, but I can't get anyone to talk about anything but his defense. Bibby said the Greene Monster was even guarding Ron Artest yesterday, manning up and more than capable of being physical with the ripped Ron-Ron. Greene, though, said he feels there's been progress on other fronts, too.
"I feel like I'm showing my all around game as opposed to just the defensive end," Greene said. "I'm knocking down shots, getting other guys shots. It's going pretty well, I think, but we've got a month left to go so we'll see."
He is explosive, though, and the question seems to be finishing and hitting his jumpers. For those looking to learn a bit more about Shakur and see him just before the June draft, check out this clip.
The few media members on hand for Sunday's scrimmage were elated to watch the action, as Theus has been far more willing to raise the curtain on his sessions than past coaches.
But Theus himself was less than thrilled. A two-quarter scrimmage ended with a 35-34 win by Artest's team. I call it Artest's team, you see, because he hit a sensational three at the buzzer to win it, falling out of bounds on the left side and being caught by teammates in a row of seats as the ball fell through. In Theus' mind, though, it was a rare highlight.
"They're really kind of getting the bugs out," Theus said. "There's no fluidity to what we're doing. Drill-wise, they're busting their butts, doing everything I'm asking them to do. But now it's trying to translate it from the drill scenario to the court."
"I let them play two quarters and I didn't say much to them, but I wasn't real pleased with the execution, the overall mindset of how you run an offense....We had a turnover every other time down the court."
Ailments that did not appear to be serious...
Francisco Garcia turned his right ankle during a scrimmage and iced it for the remainder of the practice. Justin Williams and Shakur both took fingers to the eye that looked awfully painful.
- Sam Amick

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