The word “tanking” might as well be a profanity in the Kings’ locker room.
It’s no secret the Kings’ front office eyes having two lottery picks in this year’s draft. Sacramento will have its own choice as long as it does not fall outside the top 10, in which case it will go to Chicago. Sacramento will get a second lottery pick if New Orleans misses the playoffs and its choice is not in the top three, a stipulation from the DeMarcus Cousins trade.
I think you’ve got to get in your mind, whatever you hear out there about the T-word, players don’t like that, you know what I mean? Veteran guys that are here, they want to win every night.
Dave Joerger, Kings coach, on tanking
While losing helps the Kings keep their pick, the players don’t want to fail. So the players say, keep that tanking talk to yourself.
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“I think you’ve got to get in your mind, whatever you hear out there about the T-word, players don’t like that, you know what I mean?” coach Dave Joerger said. “Veteran guys that are here, they want to win every night.”
Teams that tank don’t have to tell players to try to lose. Organizations usually accomplish that by giving minutes to their young players, the kind the Kings have deployed because of injuries and the Cousins trade.
Still, the Kings were just 2 1/2 games out of the West’s final playoff spot entering Sunday, and they have enough veterans who believe that’s worth pursuing.
“Not to say young guys don’t (want to win),” Joerger said. “But young guys, unless they’re ultimately talented, don’t have that ability as much as the older guys do. Those guys, they want to get after it and see what they can do here.”
Three-day break – The Kings had three days off before Sunday’s game against Utah at Golden 1 Center. But Joerger didn’t use that time to create new plays.
“It’s part of a process,” Joerger said. “It’s going to take a couple of years. We’re doing basic pivoting, basic passing, basic dribbling skills and where we’re trying to get the ball to and guys getting stronger with the basketball.”
Health update – Garrett Temple played for the first time since Jan. 31, when he partially tore his left hamstring at Houston.
“I think it’s one less young guy on the floor,” Joerger said. “I think that would help a little bit.”
Tyreke Evans sat out to rest. The Pelicans restricted his minutes following knee surgery before trading him in the Cousins deal.
It’s part of a process. It’s going to take a couple of years. We’re doing basic pivoting, basic passing, basic dribbling skills and where we’re trying to get the ball to and guys getting stronger with the basketball.
Dave Joerger, Kings coach
“He’s not supposed to play back-to-backs, so he will play (Monday at Denver),” Joerger said.