Kings Blog

Kings undecided on starting lineup for preseason opener

Kings coach Michael Malone said he hadn’t decided who would start Sunday’s preseason debut against the Toronto Raptors in Vancouver.

“Right now I know Rudy (Gay) is our three and DeMarcus (Cousins) is our five,” Malone said. “Other than that everything is yet to be determined.”

It would still be a shock if Darren Collison is not the starting point guard in the regular season. Collison was given a three-year deal in the offseason and is described as the facilitator and defender the Kings desired when deciding not to retain Isaiah Thomas.

The competition at shooting guard (Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas) and power forward (Reggie Evans, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry figure to be the top-3 candidates) is harder to sort out.

We haven’t seen how any of the players are doing in practice because they are close to the media. Sunday will be the first time the public sees how the other positions look.

Malone said he would use different lineups throughout the preseason to find the right mix.

If how last season worked is an indication of how Malone will pick his lineup, the group that starts the last preseason game will start the regular season.

Here is what Malone is looking for Sunday:

“Can we push the ball with pace? Can we move the basketball? Can we pass up good shots to great shots? Can we slow down on offense and continue to take a step in the right direction on defense? All seven preseason games are part of our preseason and training camp. Hopefully we get better everyday.”

• General manager Pete D’Alessandro introduced Dean Oliver as the newest addition to the front office. Oliver, a renowned innovator in statistical analysis will work with the coaching staff, too. He will also be available to players who want a more in-depth look at the game.

• Former Charlotte executive and NBA player Rod Higgins was at practice again Friday. D’Alessandro has said Higgins’ visits to Sacramento aren’t an indication he’ll be hired in any capacity.

Darrell Walker, who most recently was an assistant coach with the New York Knicks, was also at practice. Walker. Walker also played in the NBA.

Both were chatting with team executive Chris Mullin.

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