Sacramento Kings

Kings notes: Players bonding more than in recent seasons

The Thunder’s Reggie Jackson drives between the Kings’ Jason Thompson, left, and DeMarcus Cousins during the third quarter.
The Thunder’s Reggie Jackson drives between the Kings’ Jason Thompson, left, and DeMarcus Cousins during the third quarter. The Associated Press

Perhaps the most surprising part of the Kings’ best start to a season in 15 years isn’t their record, but the harmony in the locker room.

In recent seasons, Kings players often admitted to being selfish on the court and not always being the best of friends off it. But this season, players have bonded more than their predecessors.

The group is much different thanks to the front office’s effort to bring in more veterans who have been in winning situations.

The only players left from the 2012-13 season, the last before the change in ownership, are DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson.

“We have a very unique group,” coach Michael Malone said. “A lot of new guys, but we’ve come together fairly quickly. And winning is the best cohesive substance in the world. It brings guys together pretty quickly.”

Malone said his team’s ability to win close games so far is a credit to how the players are coming together.

“There’s something about this group,” Malone said. “We have a lot of trust, a lot of camaraderie, a lot of chemistry early in the season.”

Slow start – A solid preseason hasn’t carried over into the regular season for Ramon Sessions.

Entering Sunday’s game, he was shooting 23.1 percent and averaging 4.8 points, 1.7 assists and 1.7 turnovers in 14.5 minutes per game.

But Malone liked Sessions’ contributions in two road wins.

In Friday’s double-overtime victory over Phoenix, Sessions had nine points, four assists and three rebounds. And in last Monday’s win over Denver, he made only 1 of 6 shots but sank all 10 of his free throws for 13 points.

Technical issues – Cousins, who last season shared the NBA high in technical fouls (16) with Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, has kept his word to curtail those calls to start the season.

Some of his teammates haven’t been so disciplined. Thompson already has two technical fouls. Rudy Gay was called for his first technical foul with 1:22 left in the third quarter Sunday for taunting after dunking over Ish Smith. Reggie Evans also drew his first technical for stepping onto the court to argue a call from the bench.

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

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments