Kings Blog and Q&A

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

January 29, 2010
Gameday: Kings at Utah (Getting inside Spencer Hawes' head)

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***

SALT LAKE CITY - This is one of those substance over style days on the blog, as I'm devouring some breakfast in the Salt Lake City airport and need to get off to shoot-a-round.

But as I drove to the airport in Sacramento this morning, I listened in as today's piece on the Spencer Hawes and his current outlook was the talk of today's "Rise Guys" show on KHTK. Whitey, Mark and Phantom all debated Spencer's thoughts and shared differing opinions on the matter, and they come with a different perspective as they talk to him on their show every week.

Whitey even penned a humorous piece of his own on their site discussing Hawes' short leash as it pertains to the coaching staff. There is a quality post from Tom Ziller at Sactownroyalty as well, with fans clearly at a loss to understand why Hawes hasn't progressed like so many had hoped he would.

So in the interest of letting the analysis of Hawes' psyche continue, I wanted to share my 15-minute interview with Hawes at yesterday's practice in its entirety. (Click on link below)

HAWES

On his season on the whole...

"There's no way of slicing it. It hasn't been easy. When you're young, consistency is the biggest thing you try and fight for. It's tough to do when you're going out there and you don't know when or how you're going to play. At the same time, it's part of the battle.
And like coach (Paul Wespthal) always says, 'It's not about feelings out there, so you can't let it get to you that much. You just have to do what you do and make an impression.

Asked about the lack of aggression in his game that Westphal so often talks about...

"But what's an aggressive basketball player? Someone who's going to dive on the floor 20 times a game or who's going to shoot every time they touch it? There's so many different ways of describing what's aggressive.

"(But) I think that's something I've gotten better at...I don't think I've ever been a guy who has been accused of not playing hard and not going out there and giving 100 percent."

On how some fans and media have joked that combining his strengths with those of resident tough guy and Washington/Kings teammate Jon Brockman would produce the perfect big man...

"But if you compare me next to Brock, I don't do a lot of the things he does as far as crashing in there and knocking heads around. I just don't think I'm built well enough to do some of that stuff. I wish I could. It looks fun as hell. But when I do it, I don't think it has the same impact on the opponents.

"A lot of times I think guys get in trouble when they try to adopt personalities that they're not or style they're not. You're here for a reason. I do what I do, and that is what has made me successful. There's stuff I need to add, but that's what's going to continue to make me successful. I think when you try and modify your game so much to make others happier or to heed the criticism...it can be a double-edged sword sometimes."

On his current confidence level and whether he is determined to prove people wrong...

"I think I'm as motivated as I've ever been. There's so much more to be excited about from a team standpoint this year in terms of direction and style of play and the guys we have in here and the coaching staff. For me, also, it's a big year in terms of going in and being able next summer to start talking about a new contract.

"On the court, it's been a lot more fun this year really jelling with the guys and being part of something that is just a lot more positive. I think I'm still trying to improve every day, trying to soak it all up still like when I was a rookie. Learn as much without trying to overload it."

On the current offense that doesn't go through him on the high post nearly as much as it did last season...

"I think it's getting better and better. At first I struggled with it just not having the ball in my hands as much as I used to. For a player like me or JT (Jason Thompson), that can be sometimes - for better or for worse - what gets us going. But we have a new piece that is pretty darn good (in Tyreke Evans) and who with the ball in his hands is pretty effective, so we both have to make adjustments to learn how to play off one another and how we can maximize both our games with the system we're running.... It's not going to happen (instantly), but it's getting better and we're only going to get more comfortable with it."

On a comment he made two months ago about Evans needing to trust his teammates more and whether he has improved in that area...

"He knows that he can give it up and he'll get it back for another shot, or how much attention he draws with the ball in his hands that he can be a playmaker for others. I think that's something he's improving on and only makes us more dangerous when teams are loading up."

On whether he has a unique opportunity - because of his style - to help this team realize the importance of moving the ball...

"I think as much as anything, it's doing it through example...I'm trying to come in and get everyone else going, to get the ball moving so everyone feels like they're in the flow. I think that's hard for teams, especially young teams, is that from the start one or two guys might get it going but you want to have everybody feeling like they're a part of it. As much as you can do it verbally, being a guy who does it and makes more of an effort to get everybody going first and foremost is something that we can get better at."

On whether he continues to struggle with confidence early in games if his shot is not falling...

"I don't think it's so much missing shots. But going in there and if I mess up something on defense, when I don't do the things to keep me on the floor, that's when it can affect me. If I just miss shots, that won't get in your head. But if I'm missing assignments and missing box outs, then that's when you come out and you know you haven't done anything, you start to pressure a little bit more because you think you have to compensate more."

From The Bee

'Kings' Hawes won't be brushed aside,' By Sam Amick

From the Salt Lake Tribune

'An All-Star at last (Deron Williams),' By Ross Siler

'Utah awaiting results on Boozer's calf,' By Ross Siler

'There's still only one Hot Rod,' By Kurt Kragthorpe

From the Deseret News

'D-Will an All-Star,' By Jody Genessy and Tim Buckley

'Williams' world righted,' By Brad Rock

GAMEPLAN

KINGS (16-28) AT UTAH (27-18)
When:
6 p.m.
Where: EnergySolutions Arena
TV: CSNCA.
Radio: KHTK (1140 AM).
Kings update: There was doom and gloom long before the Kings' recent slide this season. That was the outlook back in early November as well, with the Kings' 1-4 start looking every bit as bad as the way they'd begin the historically-futile 2008-09 campaign. But an unexpected win at Utah on Nov. 7 changed all that, sparking a four-game winning streak that began the buzz in the same week that Kevin Martin was injured and Andres Nocioni was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence.

Jazz update: First-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams will not play tonight, as he is attending a funeral in West Virginia. Meanwhile, forward Carlos Boozer is questioanble after straining his right calf. He had an MRI on Thursday, although the results won't be known until today. The Jazz have been rolling with their dynamic duo, winning nine of their last 11 games after starting the season 18-16.

Probable starters

KINGS

No. Player Pos.
13 Tyreke Evans PG
23 Kevin Martin SG
20 Donte' Greene SF
34 Jason Thompson PF
31 Spencer Hawes C

JAZZ

No. Player Pos.
17 Ronnie Price PG
9 Ronnie Brewer SG
47 Andrei Kirilenko SF
5 Carlos Boozer PF
13 Mehmet Okur C - Sam Amick

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