Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

September 28, 2012
Jimmer Fredette ready for his second season

Jimmer Fredette might be the target of some angry scowls next week.

If any of his teammates want to know where coach Keith Smart got the idea of training in the altitude of Colorado Springs, Colo., they can look at the second-year guard who spent part of his offseason working out in Denver.

"Coach got the idea when he came out to work me out and he saw it's tough to workout out there," Fredette said. "You've got shorter breath and you get in great condition out there. And he was like 'Maybe we're going to try to have training camp up here.' It was just an idea he got into his head and he wanted to do it and that's why we're having it."

September 24, 2012
Kings training camp roster

I've been on football duty again (this time the Sacramento Mountain Lions) and noticed no one posted the Kings announcing their training camp roster.

Here's the list:

Num Player Pos Ht Wt DOB Prior to NBA/Country Yrs

45 Cyril Awere C 6-11 268 01/02/1985 Stade Nabeulien (Tunisia)/Nigeria R

3 Aaron Brooks G 6-0 161 01/14/1985 Oregon/USA 4

15 DeMarcus Cousins C 6-11 270 08/13/1990 Kentucky/USA 2

13 Tyreke Evans G 6-6 220 09/19/1989 Memphis/USA 3

7 Jimmer Fredette G 6-2 195 02/25/1989 Brigham Young/USA 1

32 Francisco Garcia F-G 6-7 195 12/31/1980 Louisville/Dominican Republic 7

42 Chuck Hayes F-C 6-6 250 06/11/1983 Kentucky/USA 7

9 Tyler Honeycutt F 6-8 188 07/15/1990 UCLA/USA 1

52 James Johnson F 6-9 248 02/20/1987 Wake Forest/USA 3

26 Tony Mitchell F 6-6 210 08/07/1989 Alabama/USA R

55 Hamady N'Diaye C 7-0 235 01/12/1987 Rutgers/Senegal 2

25 Travis Outlaw F 6-9 207 09/18/1984 Starkville HS (MS)/USA 9

33 Willie Reed F 6-9 220 05/16/1990 Saint Louis/USA R

0 Thomas Robinson F 6-10 237 03/17/1991 Kansas/USA R

5 John Salmons F-G 6-6 207 12/12/1979 Miami (Fla.)/USA 10

22 Isaiah Thomas G 5-9 185 02/07/1989 Washington/USA 1

34 Jason Thompson F 6-11 250 07/21/1986 Rider/USA 4

23 Marcus Thornton G 6-4 205 06/05/1987 Louisiana State/USA 3

Awere, Mitchell, N'Diaye and Reed do not have guaranteed contracts. Mitchell played on the Kings summer league team and was a standout during his week in Las Vegas.

September 18, 2012
Kings remain pleased with offseason progress

The Kings reputation for being a group of young players who do not work hard might be slowly changing.

The organization is genuinely pleased with the work many of the players have done this offseason.

Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof first mentioned the new structure of the offseason program at the Kings' Draft Lottery party. Maloof said the team had never gone into an offseason with players being so prepared to work on the weaknesses in their games.

The program, crafted by coach Keith Smart, included Smart visiting players as they worked out in various cities across the country.

Smart also encouraged players to workout together and many have come back to Sacramento throughout the summer to workout as a group.

The developments have also pleased basketball president Geoff Petrie, who said eight-to-10 players have been in town working out.

"It's good to see the guys coming back already," Petrie said. "I think it's been one of the most consistent offseason for a lot of our players."

It's not just that players are showing up. It's that they are getting in good work with drills that translate to games and improving their conditioning.

Smart isn't interested in spending a lot of time in camp working on conditioning. That's a problem Paul Westphal had to deal with as coach.

Beginning Oct. 3 in Colorado Springs, we'll start to see if Smart's summer plan paid off.

*Petrie said the Kings should have their training camp roster finalized soon. The team will likely begin training camp with 18 players.

The Kings have 14 players under contract, leaving one spot open should a player impress and the team decide to keep him around.

One of those players could be Tony Mitchell, the rookie small forward from Alabama who impressed during training camp.

Petrie said the Kings want and expect to have Mitchell in camp.

September 12, 2012
Kings need new way of thinking to start winning

There's no denying the Kings' road back to the playoffs is harder this coming season.

Never mind the improvements made by contenders such as the Lakers and Clippers.

Teams that didn't make the playoffs last season - Minnesota, New Orleans, Golden State and Phoenix - also made moves this offseason to become playoff teams.

The Kings added Aaron Brooks, James Johnson and drafted Thomas Robinson.

None are superstars so the Kings will be relying on their young stars to grow up to move up in the standings.

"All these teams made drastic changes so the quicker we can bond and put away some of the issues young teams deal with the quicker we can move forward," said Kings coach Keith Smart.

Smart said he shouldn't have to repeat some of the same instructions repeatedly in 2012-13.

If Smart is still reminding players to play defense and pass the ball, the Kings will continue to be a lottery team.

"All our guys have got to understand if we continue to do thing the same way we will continue to get the same results," Smart said.

Smart is mostly associated with Don Nelson when it comes to his coaching career. But Smart would love to bring the ways of another coach - Gregg Popovich - to the Kings.

Throughout the season and even today, Smart mentions the way the Spurs play as a model for the what the Kings have to become to win.

Of course, the Spurs have three players with All-Star credentials and veterans willing to sacrifice to chase a championship.

The Kings have players trying to establish who they are and are who are willing to do that at the expense of the team too often.

How do the Kings fix this? Smart would love to rid the Kings of the "my" way of thinking.

"'My' has gotten us 25, 24, 23 wins (a season)," Smart said.

Soon we'll see if the Kings are more "we" than "my."

September 11, 2012
Team-building key to Colorado Springs

The Kings holding training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., is different.

Why leave town for practices? Coach Keith Smart has the answer.

"When you start having camp in your facility the one element you miss out on early is that team building block early," Smart said.

Team building has been at the top of Smart's list for the Kings since taking over in January for Paul Westphal.

Smart couldn't believe on the road most players on the Kings didn't socialize together. And training in Sacramento was not going to aid the process.

So when Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said Smart had the OK to move training camp for five days of practice, Smart sought out venues and decided on one he knows well in Colorado Springs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

"I had experience from playing and working out with the national team back in college (at the facility)," Smart said. "I thought it would be good for our team to keep bonding."

Smart said players not having the option to go home away from teammates after practice and ride the bus together everyday can foster camaraderie.

And heading to Colorado will help eliminate distractions.

It's something he saw while coaching the Warriors when the team would begin training camp in Hawaii (I would have voted for the Kings in Hawaii).

"I saw the benefits when those guys got together and those guys would hang out together," Smart said.

If this means we'll see more unselfish play on offense and defense from the Kings remains to be seen.

Smart, believes this is the right way to start out to reaching that goal.

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