LAS VEGAS The Kings have been looking for veteran leadership and believe they’ve found it in Darren Collison.
Collison is only entering his fifth season, not exactly what anyone would call an old-head.
But Collison has been to the playoffs and the Kings believe after serving two stints as Chris Paul’s backup that Collison is ready to lead the Kings.
“I’m excited to be the leader of the team,” Collison said.
Owner Vivek Ranadive made it known DeMarcus Cousins is the focal point of the team and the team’s leader.
But Cousins is still learning how to be a leader, something even he admitted late in the season.
The Kings recognize that.
The Kings would like Rudy Gay to be more vocal as a leader this season while Collison also helps fill the void Isaiah Thomas filled as a leader for three seasons.
Collison believes Cousins can be a good leader and that he’s taking steps by working out with the summer league team.
“If we can have a winning culture and we can start to win I think his personality can start to change a little bit more,” Collison said. “I like DeMarcus, I like what he brings to the team. I think he can be a good leader if you continue to work with him.”
Collison said the Kings made him feel wanted by contacting him at 9:01 p.m., June 30, the earliest they were allowed to when free agency started.
Collison is already reaching out to his new teammates, too. He believes now is the time to begin building chemistry.
“We’ve got to build a strong bond and unity and team,” Collison said. “I think when you’re part of a losing culture guys stray away but I think we’ve got to come together. We’ve got to come together right now. We’ve got to understand what’s our story. Every team in the NBA has their story, what’s going to be our story?”
• Back to Thomas briefly. I touch on some of the reasons the Kings opted for Collison on Twitter and in the story for tomorrow’s newspaper.
Defense and playing at a faster pace are two keys.
Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro said he never met with Thomas in person during free agency but met with Thomas’ agent.
But The Kings want to change how they play and didn’t believe Thomas was the player to make that happen.
Well players who said their play suffered because Thomas didn’t get them the ball enough no longer have that excuse.