Kings Blog and Q&A

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

May 21, 2009
Kings first workout features Jrue Holiday; coaching search update

Anyone who has peeked at the many mock drafts that are out there knows that Jrue Holiday's name isn't typically anywhere near the top five.

So after the 18-year-old who spent one season at UCLA worked out for the Kings on Thursday afternoon, I asked if he could honestly see himself deserving the call when they make the No. 4 pick on June 25.

"I see myself as a No. 1 pick," Holiday quickly responded. "That's what I'm shooting for. I'm shooting for the best, shooting for the stars. The sky's the limit. That's what I'm going for. The Clippers have (No. 1 pick). That's right at home."

Of course he could settle for No. 4 too.

"I think it'd be great (to wind up in Sacramento)," Holiday said. "I heard that they need a new point guard. That's what I'm here for. I'm definitely here to run the team and distribute the ball to Kevin Martin and (Francisco) Garcia. I think I could really fit in here."

Ailene Voisin will have more on Holiday in tomorrow's paper, but here's the cliff notes on the Kings' first draft workout that also included guards Aaron Jackson (Duquesne), Josh Akognon (Cal State Fullerton), Brandon Ewing (Wyoming), forward Tremaine Townsend (Cal State Northridge), and center John Bryant (Santa Clara).

* We'll stay with Holiday for a minute here. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound, defensive-minded guard hasn't hired an agent and wouldn't say whether there was still a chance he would return to UCLA for his sophomore season.

"It's my first workout, so I'm going to go home and talk to my parents and some of my advisers," Holiday said. "(We'll) go over it and tell them how I think it went, that I think it went well. From there we're going to make a decision."

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, who ran the workout as always, was very positive about Holiday's workout as well.

"I was very impressed," he told reporters afterward. "He had great size and strength. He shot really well in the drills...He was really alert, attentive. He's obviously been well coached. He was very good.
"He had a good attitude out there. I talked to him a little bit before the workout, and he seems like a real genuine personality."

Here's a quick peek at Holiday, although there's much more on YouTube.

* Holiday wasn't the only point guard up for discussion, as Petrie was asked about Ricky Rubio. To review, he just returned from his latest trip to see the 18-year-old and once again had good things to say. Meanwhile, there are rumblings that Rubio would prefer to land in Sacramento above Memphis (No. 2 pick) or Oklahoma City (No. 3).

"I saw (Rubio) three times in the last month, saw him last year live," Petrie said when asked how many times he has seen Rubio. "He got hurt in the one (playoff) game (last week) and didn't play a whole lot, but he's pretty talented. He's creative, a pass-first point guard. He has good size, and he wants to run a team and he has a good body of work behind him because of his experience in international competition and playing in the Euroleague. He was good."

Asked if the list of premier European talent begins and ends with Rubio, Petrie seemed to agree. The lone disclaimer would be that no one mentioned Brandon Jennings (the 19-year-old point guard from Italy who grew up in Los Angeles and finished his high school career at the vaunted Oak Hill Academy in Virginia) so only Petrie knows if he considers him an overseas prospect or a one-year transplant. I didn't think to ask him at the time.

"There are some other talented players over there, (but) I think when you talk about the top part of the draft (Rubio) would be the primary player," Petrie said.

For those looking for a cheaper way of seeing Rubio in action, YouTube is here to help you. Ironically, this draft process for Rubio will be all about dispelling the notion that he is a YouTube sensation. There is a decent level of skepticism around the league on that front.

* The Kings' next workouts aren't expected to be until June 3-5, tentatively. They will also take part in the multi-team workout in Oakland on June 1 and June 2 immediately following Chicago pre-draft camp.

* On the coaching front, Petrie confirmed that the Kings are in the process of setting up interviews with Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau and shared his desire to have a new coach before the draft.

Eddie Jordan and Paul Westphal, of course, have already been interviewed. According to Lakers PR man John Black, the Rambis interview wouldn't take place until after his team's playoff series with the Nuggets. While Jordan and Rambis had already interviewed for Philadelphia's vacant coaching spot, Thibodeau did today as well. Petrie said he had not yet spoken to Thibodeau yet, as he left a message and had not heard back as of earlier this afternoon.

"At this point, we've made a commitment that we're going to try to talk to those two coaches (Rambis and Thibodeau)," Petrie said. "From my standpoint, with the draft and the roster and summer league and the things that come into play here real quickly, it'd be great to have it done sometime before the draft."

Asked if the search could be expanded from there, Petrie said, "That's always under discussion." - Sam Amick

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