Mini-Camp: Day 2
Get the inside scoop as Cousins joins the Kings Summer League Team in Las Vegas.
Though Kings Mini-Camp seemingly just started, the team is through three practices and has its eyes set on a fourth Tuesday night.
“The third practice is always tough,” explained Kings Head Coach Michael Malone following the morning session. “The guys came into the gym a little tired, a little fatigued, [but] they fought through it, had very good energy and they competed.”
While the pace of Tuesday’s practice eased slightly, players did their share of running, as coaches set up four-on-five defensive drills as well as five-on-five, no dribbling scrimmages in which the team sprinted from one end of the floor to the other.
“I’m definitely a little sore,” said first-year center Sim Bhullar. “You have to get used to two-a-days, especially after (Monday’s) sprints. I’m sure I will be good by (Wednesday).”
For Bhullar, Mini-Camp action is a chance to showcase his game.
“I’m just trying to show the coaches I can run up and down, (compete) with the guys out here and just show I belong,” said the former New Mexico State standout. “I’m just trying to do whatever I can do to win and help the team.”
No. 55 is one of nine rookies on Sacramento’s Summer League roster who is still getting acclimated. Despite a demanding learning curve, Malone has entrusted the team’s seven veterans to lead by example and help their new teammates.
“Last year, we were a team with all rookies,” said the second-year head coach. “We had no player on our Summer League roster who had any NBA experience. This year, we have guys like Ben [McLemore], Ray [McCallum], Quincy [Acy] and Derrick Williams, when he (arrives) – it should allow us to be a more competitive team here.”
The aforementioned group doesn’t include Kings star DeMarcus Cousins – who arrived Monday and worked out with the squad voluntarily in back-to-back practices. On Tuesday, No. 15 posted-up down low, showed off his midrange game and ran the floor during the scrimmage.
“I give DeMarcus a ton of credit,” said Malone. “We had a voluntary mini-camp in the middle of June and as a leader of the team, he was there every day. So I’ve never had a problem getting DeMarcus in the gym, working hard and leading by example.”
Sacramento’s big man earned praise for his commitment to the team and his eagerness to form a bond with rookie Nik Stauskas.
“He is constantly developing as a person and a player,” stated Malone. “I love the direction he’s headed.”
Along with getting to know No. 10, Cousins has provided the Kings Summer League Team with a first-hand look at what it’s like to compete with and against one of the game’s premier frontcourt players.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be in a situation like that,” said Bhullar. “[With his level of physicality], it’s how every big is in the NBA, [so] it’s good going against him.”
Summer League Interviews:
Summer Training: Bhullar