. The Kings’ record without DeMarcus Cousins is 2-12, a fact that has received plenty of attention this season.
The team’s winning percentage without Darren Collison isn’t as bad, but the Kings’ 6-12 mark without Collison isn’t great.
The Kings are 5-10 since Collison left the Kings’ loss to Dallas on Feb. 5 with what was diagnosed as a strained hip flexor.
Collison had surgery last Tuesday for a “core injury” and was told he’d be out six weeks.
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Collison is third on the Kings in scoring and leads the team in assists and steals. The Kings miss Collison on offense and possibly more on defense, a big reason he was signed to a three-year, $16 million deal in the offseason.
“When you lose one of the top three players on your team, slotting everybody up is difficult,” said Kings coach George Karl. “If you lose someone (from four) to eight, it’s not as difficult.”
The Kings started Ramon Sessions in place of Collison before trading him to Washington after the All-Star break. Ray McCallum has been the starter since with Andre Miller, who was acquired from Washington for Sessions, coming off the bench.
Collison is second on the Kings in minutes per game (34.8) in part because the play behind him had not been consistent .
Karl, who hasn’t had Collison available since taking over, said the adjustment isn’t as simple as sliding in the next player.
“It’s a personality change, it’s a confidence change, it’s a mental change,” Karl said. “Some teams do it quicker than others. But losing a guys that’s been a pretty strong part of your personality all year long takes some time.”
They love Vlade – New Kings vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac has been with the team on this trip since the second game last Wednesday in San Antonio. He’s been received warmly by fans and team personnel everywhere, but there was more applause for Divac in Charlotte, where he played from 1996-98.
Divac was traded to Charlotte by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 for the 13th overall pick in that year’s draft, Kobe Bryant.
There was a video montage of Divac’s playing days during the second quarter and applause from the fans when he was shown on the video monitors in the arena.
Practice time – Karl was concerned he wouldn’t have enough practice time after he was hired because of the Kings’ schedule the final 30 games of the season.
This week has allowed the Kings to get in some practice time. The team practiced Tuesday in Charlotte and will have a session Thursday in Philadelphia before playings the 76ers on Friday.