COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Tonight was the second time I was allowed to watch the Kings scrimmage before the team returns to Sacramento on Monday.
Here are some notes and observations from tonight's practice at the Olympic Training Center.
*Don't rule out Thomas Robinson seeing time at small forward during the preseason. During one 5-on-5 session, Robinson was the small forward with Chuck Hayes and DeMarcus Cousins the other frontcourt players. Jimmer Fredette and Marcus Thornton were the other players on the squad. That squad beat a team of Isaiah Thomas, John Salmons, Willie Reed, Francisco Garcia and Cyril Awere. The final score was 7-2.
Robinson was also at small forward during the session open to the media Tuesday in Sacramento.
*James Johnson is having a good camp. He's active around the rim, grabbing rebounds and aggressive defensively.
*Ball pressure is being emphasized in the latest effort to improve the defense. Guards are being encouraged to play tight on the perimeter and harass any post passes. Denying the ball by post defenders is also being worked on a lot.
*Hayes is moving much better than he did last season. Rather than waiting for rebounds to come to him, he's going up to get them a lot more aggressively.
*Fredette is showing progress with dealing with pressure. Garcia was defending him on the perimeter and doing a good job of cutting off Fredette. Last season Fredette was prone to go backwards and eventually dribble himself into a corner. The other option was to dribble east and west. Fredette didn't do that this time and continued to attack and eventually found a teammate. It's a step in the right direction for one play.
*Thornton was doing a good job of passing in fast break situations. One that stood out was when he drove to the hoop and when challenged found Cousins trailing instead of forcing up a tough shot.
*I spoke to Tyreke Evans earlier in the day for a story that will run tomorrow. Here's a little bit of what didn't make it into the story:
On how he feels physically this year:
"I feel great. I'm just going out there every day trying to push guys, work hard. We've got that triangle offense in, we're trying to run it and get it down pat. Once we get that down I think we can be a good team because I like the movement in the offense."
On the benefits of playing off the ball last season:
"Just moving without the ball. I know I'm going to have the ball, sometimes I'm not so when I don't have it just try to find my shots still."