Mini-Camp: Day 1

Coach Malone, Stauskas and more provide insight into Sacramento’s first practice in Las Vegas.

By: Steven Wilson

by Jason Wise
Senior Manager, Digital

Kings Head Coach Michael Malone demanded one thing from the team during Monday’s morning practice – play with high intensity and a lot of energy.

Dripping with sweat, players responded by diving on the floor and sprinting from end to end during Sacramento’s first mini-camp session in Las Vegas, Nev. 

“The energy was great,” said Malone afterward. “The guys competed, played hard and worked very hard today.”

The team funneled in to the gymnasium doors at Spring Valley High School at 10 a.m. on Monday morning. Each one donned a black Sacramento basketball jersey, laced up his shoes and took to the hardwood.

Following a light shootaround, the team stretched, and then broke into groups. Kings rookie Nik Stauskas paired up with teammate MarShon Brooks in the southwest corner of the gym for the first of several shooting drills.

“It’s kind of been my thing since I started playing, I’ve always been able to shoot the ball,” said Sacramento’s 2014 draftee.

After the initial drills, the team slipped into pick-n-roll and half-court situations before transitioning into a full-court, five-on-five, up-tempo scenario.

“The intensity was high today – guys were going after it,” said Stauskas. “It was my first practice, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I felt like it went pretty well.”

In an effort to ease the first-year guard’s transition into the NBA, Coach Malone offered his advice.

“I told him before practice, ‘Relax – don’t try to do too much – just go out there and play your game,’” stated Malone. “I thought he had a good practice, [he] played hard, shot the ball well, made some very good basketball plays, so I was very excited with what we saw and I know he will only get better.”

Throughout his first day of Kings training, Stauskas teamed up with fellow guard Ben McLemore, including time in which the pair took spot-up jumpers on the northeast hoop. 

“For the most part, we were on the floor at the same time,” said Stauskas. “He’s a great player and hopefully we can feed off each other.”

“We both can shoot the ball, we can put it down on the floor [among other] things – I think we’ll be a good backcourt,” added McLemore.

With the morning session in the books, the Kings returned to the court at 6 p.m. for their second practice, which demanded just as much intensity as the first.

“Most importantly, the energy and the effort level were where they need to be,” said the Kings leader. “As we continue to practice throughout the week, we just have to be sure to not just work hard, but work smart.”

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