The longest-tenured King and the oldest King are impressing the coaching staff.
That’s the word from coach Michael Malone after Tuesday’s practice.
Reggie Evans, the veteran power forward acquired in February from Brooklyn, and Jason Thompson in his seventh season with the Kings are standouts since training camp began last Saturday.
“Reggie Evans, 34 years-old and Jason Thompson, 28, been here for a long time, MVPs of the camp,” Malone said. “They’ve both come in with great mindsets and unbelievable shape and more importantly just their leadership, the example they set. We have a lot of new guys and for Reggie and Jason to come in and play as hard as they have has really lifted our camp. I think it’s important for everybody to know Jason and Reggie have been unbelievable to this point and my hope his they continue to do so.”
Evans and Thompson are part of a competition to start at power forward next to DeMarcus Cousins this season.
Evans has lasted in the NBA with his tenacity, defense and rebounding.
Thompson is continuing to refine his game in hopes of playing as long as possible. So he changed his dietary habits to come into camp in better shape.
He’d also like to average a double-double and play well enough to he can land another contract
“I’m trying to get the longevity so I’m eating healthier, putting better things in my body,” Thompson said. “Taking care of my body better so i can not put as much pressure on my knees. Sharpening my shot and pretty much sharpening everything.”
Malone has noticed.
“You can tell he committed himself this offseason to coming back a better player,” Malone said. “Believe it or not he’s added a three-point shot to his game. He spent a lot of time on that.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Thompson has worked on his three-point shot.
Thompson has made one of the 26 threes he’s attempted in his career, including none last season. His only made three came during the 2009-10 season.
So does Malone want Thompson taking threes?
“If it goes in,” Malone said. “To his credit he’s not coming down in transition and spotting up behind the three. I think what he saw last year was Patrick Patterson was a guy we started to start the year, was able to spread the floor and we have guys in DeMarcus (Cousins) and Rudy (Gay) that require space to be effective. and to his credit it wasn’t something we told him to do, trust me. My thing was comeback a better free throw shooter, well he took it to better free throw shooter but let me try to expand my game.”
• Malone said he gave forward Carl Landry Tuesday off. He said there’s nothing wrong, with Landry but wanted him to rest after returning from knee surgery that ended his 2013-14 season.
• Asked what he wanted to see the Kings do better in scrimmages, Malone said slow down on offense. He said the frenetic play on defense was carrying over on offense.