The second big man starting with DeMarcus Cousins has been in flux seemingly every year.
Kings coach George Karl also is trying to choose between veteran Kosta Koufos and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein as a starter.
The solution could be that the starter changes depending on the opponent because Karl isn’t ready to declare either the full-time starter.
“There might be a rotating starting lineup,” Karl said. “Right now it seems that these guys – I don’t know if they’re satisfied rotating it – but they don’t let it bother them. And if I decide to pull this guy and play this guy, they all seem to be very, very ready.”
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Only Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay have started every preseason game in which they played. Ben McLemore started at shooting guard in Saturday’s preseason finale at Rupp Arena against New Orleans, but Darren Collison and James Anderson also have started there.
Karl won’t necessarily start his five best players.
“I’ve always felt the starting lineup should be your best lineup to rotate the game in a positive way and not the lineup that’s supposedly your starting (best) lineup,” Karl said.
That the team has been so agreeable to change is another sign that the pettiness and selfishness that have corrupted recent Kings teams might not be as prevalent with this group.
“I think any good team knows you must sacrifice part of your ego and maybe part of your skills to be a good basketball team,” Karl said. “It’s just part of being a team. Team means sometimes you have to do some things that maybe you haven’t done very well in the past and there’s improvement there, and giving to the team is as much asking what you want from the team. If you have givers, you have a hell of a chance to have a good team.”
Home-court advantage – The Kings technically were the road team Saturday but used the home locker room. The floor in the locker room is the actual court from the 2012 Final Four when Kentucky won its last NCAA title.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said the Kings had the home locker room by virtue of having more Kentucky players. The Kings have three – Rondo, Cousins and Cauley-Stein. The Pelicans have one, Anthony Davis, the star of the 2012 title team.
Short-handed – The Kings had all their players available while the Pelicans played without seven players, including four starters.
Starters Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Quincy Pondexter and Omer Asik were out with injuries. Reserves Alexis Ajinca, Luke Babbitt and Norris Cole also missed the game.