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George Karl looks for improved conditioning from the Kings

Kings coach George Karl believes his team will be a .500 club this season. “We have enough good players,” he said.
Kings coach George Karl believes his team will be a .500 club this season. “We have enough good players,” he said. hamezcua@sacbee.com

The Kings run a lot in practice to get in better shape.

It’s not the traditional running sprints for conditioning, but coach George Karl designs practices to keep the Kings constantly moving.

“A coach is never satisfied with the conditioning of his players,” Karl said. “They’re not in bad shape, but they’re not in good shape yet, running shape.”

So Karl uses drills and fast-paced scrimmages during training camp at UC San Diego to get the Kings in condition.

“We’ve got no choice but to come along,” said guard Darren Collison. “We’re running every day, and coach had addressed to us that he wanted us to be in shape before training camp. So we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into.”

Karl is not a fan of making players run for the sake of running. So he tweaks the practice format to help with conditioning, including reducing the shot clock from 24 seconds to as low as 14.

“It’s just to speed up your decisions, to understand the pace, and why it works, why it doesn’t work,” Karl said. “Also, it makes conditioning pretty easy.”

Collison, whose conditioning was praised last season, enjoys Karl’s approach. He said the team also has adapted well.

“This is the first team I’ve been on where the team is in this kind of shape early on,” Collison said. “You can condition so many ways, and I think the best way is just to play.”

And perhaps Karl will be happy with his team’s conditioning by the time the regular season starts.

McLemore deal extended – The Kings announced they have picked up the contract option on guard Ben McLemore for the 2016-17 season.

The move, which was expected, extends McLemore’s deal through his fourth season. McLemore enters his third season after averaging 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 32.6 minutes per game. He started all 82 games.

McLemore shot 43.7 percent last season, including 35.8 percent from three-point range.

Back on court – Rajon Rondo (sore sacrum) and Marco Belinelli (hamstring) practiced Saturday after sitting out Friday’s session.

Karl said both had standout moments. The coach added that there are no significant injuries entering the final day of camp on Sunday.

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

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