Not to steal any lyrics from my beloved Beatles or anything, but while driving home from Reno this afternoon, the words from one of their hits jumped into my heat. (It's the Beatles. Cut me a break). I made the two-hour trip mostly to spend time with Kings rookie Donte Greene, who was sent to the Kings affiliate in the NBA Development League on Saturday, but came away impressed with Patrick Ewing, Jr., the club's second-round pick who was traded away and eventually waived by the New York Knicks. The 6-foot-8 Ewing struggled during the Summer League in Las Vegas, and apparently couldn't convince new Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni that he possessed the offensive skills to play at the next level. He has been with the Bighorns ever since, opting to remain stateside and improve his skills rather than attempt to play overseas.
And right now, according to members of the Bighorns staff, Ewing is their best player. He still struggles with his three-point shot and isn't an exceptional ballhandler, but his playmaking is improving, he is consistently hitting the 10-15 foot jumper, his defense and work ethic terrific. During Monday's practice, Ewing, Greene and newcomer Gerry McNamara were the last players on the court.
Bighorns coach Jay Humphries is convinced Ewing - a free agent - will be called up by somebody before the season ends.
More on the mouthpiece
Greene, who averaged 33 minutes in his first two games with the Bighorns, and figures to get another 30 or so in Tuesday's 11 a.m. tipoff (some youth promotion), kept his mouthguard in place - in his mouth - during Monday's practice. In one of the more hilarious moments Sunday, the rookie, who was sucking wind big-time Sunday during the second game of a back-to-back, left his mouthguard hanging from his lower lip during a jump ball sequence. For pure entertainment value, I sitll liked the one where he was holding the apparatus while attempting to catch a pass. I'm not sure Kings officials would be so keen about his casual on-court demeanor, however, Unfortunately, I was unable to get a quote from player development director Fat Lever or assistant coach Shareef Abdur-Rahim before they left for Sac.