It wouldn’t be too much hyperbole to say the Kings have been obsessed with dribbling the basketball in recent seasons.
Sometimes it was point guards pounding the rock. Other times it was a big man determined to back his way to the basket no matter how many dribbles it took. Or there would be a player on the wing dribbling looking for a shot before realizing there were only two seconds on the shot clock.
No matter who the offender was, the other four Kings on the floor looked on with disgust until it was their turn to play their version of Kings Keep Away.
Everyone associated with the Kings from ownership on down acknowledges this must stop.
Coach Michael Malone has implemented more drills limiting players to two dribbles and drills where no dribbling is allowed.
The result is a reminder how fundamental basketball has been lost by too many NBA players.
“When you take away pick-and-roll and dribbling a lot of guys have no idea how to play,” Malone said. “They can’t get themselves open and more importantly they can’t get their teammates open. And the first times we’ve done that drill it looked like these guys had no idea how to play and a lot of them don’t. We’re in the NBA and a lot of guys have no idea how to play the game of basketball. It teaches guys how to play.”
We’ll get our first look at how that’s going Sunday when the Kings open the preseason against the Toronto Raptors in Vancouver.
• More dribbling chatter: Today was DeMarcus Cousins’ first media session since media and he touched on a variety to topics.
Cousins was asked how tough the transition is when a team changes point guards.
Gone is Isaiah Thomas, replaced by Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions. Ray McCallum is the only holdover from last season at the point.
Cousins indicated no problems with the change.
“It’s been incredible, it’s been incredible,” Cousins said. “It’s been a smooth transition. The ball is moving a lot better. It’s not stuck in one place. It’s not being overdribbled by anybody on the floor.”
I’m sure a certain guard in Phoenix will read that quote with great interest.
• Cousins also talked about his relationship with Reggie Evans.
Evans has been the kind of veteran Cousins never had until last season. Cousins sees Evans as a kindred spirit in the sense both have had their fair share of public labeling as being bad guys.
It’s also the kind of teammate Evans has needed. Cousins’ former agent, John Greig, always believed Evans was the kind of player who could help Cousins.
Evans is a grinder on the court, who does all the dirty work. Cousins doesn’t mind doing that, but also happens to be blessed with probably the best offensive skillset of any post player in the league.
Evans is from Pensacola, Fla., which is not too far from Cousins’ hometown of Mobile, Ala.
It was Evans’ idea to post on Instagram that Cousins’ goal is to have five technical fouls or less this season. Cousins also said lunch on Tuesday with Evans, Collison and Ryan Hollins was helpful as he learns what it takes to win in the NBA>
“Me and Reggie talked yesterday and Reggie’s been on my head this camp, he’s been on my head,” Cousins said. “And that’s the guy I go to when I’m ready to vent. Whenever I’m having a problem I go to Reggie. I’m a vet but he’s my vet. And I’m all ears. That’s a guy I truly respect on this team. He’s set goals for me, I set goals for him, we set goals for the team. In order for me to be a better leader, I can’t be getting ejected, getting these technicals. Without me on the floor it’s hard for this team to win games. He challenged me and told me no more than five this year so I’m accepting the challenge.”
• Malone said he would take a more active role in keeping technical fouls down this season. That will start in practice.
“I just told our guys in practices I’m going to be Joey Crawford,” Malone said. “I’m going to be the guy that cleans it all up. You’re going to play how you practice. And if in practice you just complain and talk to the referees any way you want, well you’re going to carry that over into the game. If you think in practice you can just foul each other – we were 27th in free throw attempts allowed per game – so if you beat each other up in practice and do it in a game we pay the penalty. So I told our guys from now on if someone’s acting up or going too crazy, technical foul. If you get two, you’re gone. I’m kinda looking forward to being Joey Crawford this year.”