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Willie Cauley-Stein wants to improve his conditioning and rebounding in summer league

Video: Coach John Welch, Willie Cauley-Stein on getting into game shape

Kings Summer League coach John Welch on second loss and Sacramento Kings rookie center said that he is slowly working his way into shape for the season during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas after a 98-76 loss to the Nuggets. Video by Hector Am
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Kings Summer League coach John Welch on second loss and Sacramento Kings rookie center said that he is slowly working his way into shape for the season during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas after a 98-76 loss to the Nuggets. Video by Hector Am

One skill that intrigued the Kings about Willie Cauley-Stein prior to drafting him last month was his running ability because the Kings plan to run a lot under coach George Karl.

Through two summer league games, Cauley-Stein has been trying to play the role of sprinter as much as possible, and he's needed to take plenty of breaks.

Cauley-Stein, however, would not say conditioning is a concern of his. But it is something he's aware of after the Kings fell to 0-2 in summer league with a 98-76 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Cox Pavilion.

Cauley-Stein's focus is to “play had and come out when you can't play hard anymore” to not hurt the team.

“I have the option,” Cauley-Stein said. “I take myself out. I’m going to play as hard as a can and once I get a little bit winded or a little bit tired I’m not going to try stay out there and make a mistake or give up points. So when I get tired I’m going to bring myself out for like a minute or two and then tell them I’m ready to go back in. That’s just the way I play.”

Cauley-Stein had 15 points, a rebound and a blocked shot in the game. He played 22 minutes, 29 seconds of the 40-minute game.

“And my minutes will get longer,” Cauley-Stein said. “I;ve been traveling a lot (leading up top the draft) coast-to-coast and now I’m just teaching myself to push through it. In the fourth quarter I pushed through it. I told the coaches keep me in and let me battle through everything and try to get my wind up.”

Kings assistant coach John Welch wasn't worried about Cauley-Stein’s conditioning.

“With him and Eric Moreland, both of them they’re great runners,” Welch said. “We played them together some today but a lot of times we're just trying to get one of them running to the rim every time. So each game his minutes will go up a little bit.”

Cauley-Stein would like to see his rebounding go up after being credited with only one against the Nuggets.

Rebounding was not considered one Cauley-Stein’s greatest strengths prior to the draft and he has only six through two summer league games.

“I can get more rebounds,” Cauley-Stein said. “It’s one of them things. You’re not the biggest guy no more, you’re not the fastest guy on the court no more so you've got to find a niche to get rebounds.”

Overall, the Kings continue to struggle defensively. They gave up 12 three pointers in the loss.

Denver (2-0) was led by rookie Emmanuel Mudiay with 19 points and 10 assists.

“We just gave them too many easy baskets, too many open threes,” Welch said.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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