Leading up to summer league, Corey Hawkins impressed Kings coaches with his scoring.
But the day before the former UC Davis star was to leave for Las Vegas, a misstep on the court set him back.
The guard has been sidelined since spraining his right ankle Wednesday night in practice. The Kings play DenverSunday in their second summer-league game.
Hawkins had targeted Sunday for his return, but he won’t rush it.
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“I’ve just got to get some strength back in there,” he said. “Walking is fine. Just being able to jump and plant is kind of a concern right now. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.”
After the Kings traded guard Ray McCallum to San Antonio last week, Hawkins’ long odds of making the regular-season roster might have improved a bit.
Corey in the training camp shot the ball very well. He’s a natural scorer. He knows how to get to the free-throw line, get guys off balance, kind of an old-man game.
Kings assistant coach John Welch
The Kings could use another guard who could help in a pinch behind Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison. But Hawkins is not looking that far ahead.
“I just have to focus on getting healthy soon,” he said. “You just kind of play on how your body feels. Each player knows how his body is going to feel, so it’s more long term.
“I’m obviously disappointed that I can’t play right now, but you’ve got to think bigger picture and not make it worse.”
Before the injury, Hawkins showed the Kings why he was the Big West Conference Player of the Year as a senior last season.
“Corey in the training camp shot the ball very well,” Kings assistant coach John Welch said. “He’s a natural scorer. He knows how to get to the free-throw line, get guys off balance, kind of an old-man game.”
Helping out – The Kings’ support staff continues to evolve, as it has much of the last 12 months.
Former All-Star Peja Stojakovic is with the team, along with the rest of the front office. Vlade Divac, vice president of basketball and franchise operations, has used his ex-teammate as a sounding board.
On the court, two close associates of coach George Karl are on hand: former NBA guard Anthony Carter and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
Carter, who played for Karl in Denver, has been assisting with coaching duties since last week’s minicamp.
Lieberman, regarded as one of the best women’s basketball players ever, was mentioned as a possible addition to Karl’s staff when he was hired in February. She coached and played in the WNBA and became the first woman to coach a men’s professional team when she was hired in 2009 by the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA Development League team.
Renewing acquaintances – Kings forward Eric Moreland will see some important figures in his career on the opposing sideline Sunday.
Former Kings coach Michael Malone is now the Nuggets’ coach, and ex-Kings assistants Micah Nori and Ryan Bowen are coaching Denver’s summer-league team. Moreland made the Kings’ roster as an undrafted rookie under their instruction last season.
Center Sim Bhullar has left the Kings’ summer-league team to join the Canadian national team.
“I’m looking forward to saying, ‘What’s up?’ to them,” Moreland said. “They brought me in. It’ll be good to see them, and I won’t take it lightly on them, either.”
Early departure – Center Sim Bhullar has left the Kings’ summer-league team to join the Canadian national team.
Bhullar, who grabbed 10 rebounds in Friday’s loss to Toronto, hopes the Kings invite him to training camp.