Sports

Kings notes: Lakers coach hopes Nash will mentor young players

The NBA news was dominated Thursday by the announcement that Lakers guard Steve Nash would miss the 2014-15 season with a back injury.

Nash, 40, is a two-time league MVP but has been slowed by injuries in his three seasons with the Lakers.

“I was looking forward to coaching one of the greatest point guards that ever played and one of the greatest people,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott. “Steve is a true professional. It hurts me for him because I know how bad he wanted to play this year.”

Scott said he wouldn’t mind having Nash with the team to serve as mentor. He said he would speak to Nash in the next few days, preferring to give him some space for now.

“I would love for him to be around,” Scott said. “I think his expertise and experience can help a lot of our young guys.”

Lakers star Kobe Bryant was asked where Nash ranks all-time among point guards.

Bryant responded with a bit of wit.

“I don’t know,” Bryant said. “That’s ESPN’s job to rank people.”

Bryant made it clear recently he had no regard for such rankings after ESPN rated him the 40th best player in the NBA.

Thoughts back home – Kings coach Michael Malone said he was personally touched by the news of the killing of two deputies in the Sacramento area on Friday.

Malone had learned about one of the officers before the Kings played the Lakers at MGM Grand Garden Arena in their preseason finale.

“It really touches me because you have a guy, a sheriff’s officer, Danny Oliver, who I don’t know, 47 years old, married, two girls, daughters.”

Malone is also married with two daughters.

“And it really makes you upset because you know what these people do for a living to protect and serve,” Malone said. “And for it to be a senseless, cold-blooded murder like that. So our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Resting – The Lakers sat Bryant, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill to rest them for their season opener.

Malone did not take that route after the Kings had played poorly in their first six preseason games.

“This is regular-season game No. 1,” Malone said. “We’ve played six preseason games and haven’t played well in those games.”

The Kings entered the game 2-4, but the record wasn’t Malone’s biggest concern. It was getting a consistent effort and cutting down on turnovers.

The Kings averaged 21.3 turnovers in their first six preseason games.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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