The Kings’ first starting lineup of the preseason featured four players born in the 1980s and one born in the ’70s.
“That’s an old starting five right there,” quipped 19-year-old rookie De’Aaron Fox about the lineup of George Hill (31), Garrett Temple (31), Vince Carter (40), Zach Randolph (36) and Kosta Koufos (28).
That might be the last time that’s said this season, as the starting lineup will likely look much different. But you can expect those players to be voices of reason that help bridge the gap between what coaches want and how to implement those plans for young players.
The Kings’ elder statesmen have noticed how eager their teammates are to learn after little more than a week together.
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Coach Dave Joerger said it’s “very positive” in the preseason for the veterans to pull a player aside to point out the nuances of the game or explain why a foul was called.
Joerger just wants to avoid overwhelming the young players.
“Once we get to know each other, there has to be boundaries,” Joerger said. “Because I’m talking to them, six assistant coaches are talking to them, their peers are talking to them and then an old guy who’s going to go to the Hall of Fame puts his arm around him and all of a sudden smoke starts coming out. As we learn each other we’ll pick and choose our spots.”
The veteran starters showed that playing at a fast pace isn’t limited to young legs. They moved the ball quickly and efficiently.
“I just watched how they played, watched what Garrett and what George were doing at the guard spots,” said Fox, who would score 16 points Monday against San Antonio. “And I just went in and tried to play my game.”
None played after the first quarter, and Hill had five assists in less than 10 minutes.
Then they started dishing out pointers.
“When you have veterans that just have played a good amount of time and understand how to be good players in the league, understand how to make the right plays, then that’s what’s going to happen,” Temple said.
During the season, Joerger plans to periodically give veterans a night off to rest and have them help teach from the sideline.
“They’re open to learning,” Randolph said. “They’re some good kids and they work hard.”