It may sound absurd, but I think I'm more ready for the two-a-days to be over with than the players themselves.
No, I'm not running any lines or even squeezing in a few pushups, but I am missing out on the best action that's taking place because of the format. The media availability all takes place after the morning session, with the curtain inside the practice facility unveiled for the majority of the practice.
But whereas the closed night session is mostly up-and-down scrimmaging, the part we see is mostly drills and walkthroughs. Once it gets down to one practice per day (which I'm not sure exactly when that is), we'll likely get a much better look at these guys on the go.
For now, here's what Kings coach Reggie Theus has been seeing.
"The enthusiasm level is strong," he said after Wednesday's morning session. "Guys are running hard. I'm really pleased with how things are moving along. We're throwing a lot of things at them, and they're picking it up quick."
And the scrimmage on Tuesday night?
"I thought it was good, (but) a little rough at times," he continued. "Guys are still in their summer mode of pounding the ball and not seeing other guys. When you play pick up ball, you're basically shooting whenever you want. In terms of implementing the system and all of that, I think we're moving right along."
Other updates from the day...
* As a follow-up to my piece today about Spencer Hawes and the mandated conditioning test, the Kings center told me that he will talk to Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie again and is still hoping to reach a compromise on the situation. When I asked him if he knew if he was going to be fined, he shrugged and said he wasn't sure yet.
Our own Melody Gutierrez asked Kings coach Reggie Theus if he had any updates, and he responded with a negative.
"None from me," Theus said. "I have no idea. I'm staying out of that. The rules are what they are and it's not going to change."
What's more, I learned a bit more about the conditioning test. As it turns out, they aren't suicides (which entail running in intermittent lengths on the floor back and forth). For big men like Hawes, they are required to run the full length of the court 10 times in 62 seconds (The time is reduced for other positions). That counts as one set, and they are required to do four sets with a short rest in between each one. Thus, the entire exercise takes 10 minutes or so. And, yes, you have to complete each set by the timeline in order to pass the test.
BLOG UPDATE (10:53 p.m.): I'm slowly but surely clearing up the more specific matters of this issue, and here's the latest: Technically, the list of players that haven't taken the test yet include Hawes, John Salmons (groin), Kenny Thomas (back) and Quincy Douby (excused - but not sure of exact reasons - and likely to take it on Thursday).
* The Kings officially added Shareef Abdur-Rahim to the coaching staff today
* When Bobby Jackson was asked who impressed him most thus far, he said it was none other than Quincy Douby. That's a good sign for the third-year player, considering his option for next season has yet to be picked up by the team (Oct. 31 deadline) and his future is in the balance.
"Just yesterday, he was shooting the heck out of the ball," Jackson said. "He can really throw the ball up, and that was just one day."
* Jason Thompson is on the Chipotle diet, at least for today's lunch. I ran into the rookie center at the burrito joint near Arco. Flying solo and sporting shades so black and big that they could've been used in filming of The Fly, he was his gregarious self with the folks building his meal. Not a reserved bone in his body...
HITTING THE REWIND BUTTON
The beauty of the blog is that there's always a place for more material, even stuff that it took a few days to get around to putting together.
Exhibit A: Kevin Martin's day with Michael Jordan in Portland.
The Kings shooting guard is the newest addition to MJ's shoe brand. Having just signed his deal to wear the Jordan shoe and be promoted as part of the commercial team, Martin joined an All-Star cast in Portland on Sept. 24 to meet Jordan for the first time and be officially welcomed to the club.
Considering Jordan was Martin's idol growing up, the meeting was a lifelong dream realized for the fifth-year player. He was joined by Atlanta's Joe Johnson, Detroit's Rip Hamilton, New Orleans' Chris Paul, Denver's Carmelo Anthony and former teammate Mike Bibby for dinner and meetings regarding the business.
"It was just a pleasure meeting (Jordan)," Martin said. "Him putting you on his team makes you realize that (success) wasn't given to you. It makes you realize you're here because he wants you to help bring his brand to a higher level."
First impressions of MJ?
"He's a business guy," Martin said. "That's one thing you realize when you first meet him.
"All the stories you heard about how once the games came, he was all basketball. Well when it's business, he's all business. "There was just something about him."
The first MJ meeting was supposed to happen last year, as Kings assistant and former Jordan teammate Randy Brown had planned on arranging an introduction. The plan, which went unfulfilled because the hoops icon/Charlotte general manager was shooting a commercial, was for Jordan to sarcastically insult Martin's game when they first met as an all-in-fun prank. In the end, their meeting still included a touch of humor involving Brown.
"We were joking about Randy," Martin said. "(Jordan) said Randy just wanted (him) on the (Jordan) team because he wants some of the gear."
Exhibit B: Multimedia extraordinaire
While we're always trying to improve out web site, we still manage to place material in various spots where it may not necessarily be found by Kings fans.
In that vein, I played TV man for a brief minute for an online video that you folks may not have seen. Be sure to bookmark our multimedia site - found here - and check it on occasion to make sure you're not missing anything. I will make a point to link to material when I can as well. As always, the main Kings page is here.
We also produced a Media Day photo album here. And finally, some of you may not have seen the players salaries database that was recently published. While some folks have been down on this project, I will tell you that we'll be retooling and improving all along the way. Also, be sure to click on the "Details" link for more info on each invidual contract.
The basic hope - fulfilled through my own digging for all of the particulars - was that we could establish down-to-the-dollar numbers on players' contracts. If nothing else, you now have a place to go where you can trust the numbers (an industry source - Hoopshype - is way off on some Kings salaries). Eventually, we'll add a salary cap projection feature so you can get a sense of the big picture financially. - Sam Amick