Practice Notes: Kings Excited to Begin Season
Following a day off on Sunday, the Kings went right back to work on Monday to prepare for their first opponent of the 2015-16 season.
In just two days, the Kings will play their final home opener in Sleep Train Arena, squaring off against the Los Angeles Clippers, the same team which the Kings played in their first ever game in Sacramento 30 years ago.
“There was a lot of good stuff today,” said Kings head coach George Karl. “We got a lot of good stuff in on the Clippers, mostly defensive oriented…I think they’re excited about starting to play. The energy was good, the focus on the Clippers – I think come Wednesday we’ll be ready to play.”
Defense will be a priority for the Kings on Wednesday, as the Clippers were the second highest scoring team in the NBA last season, putting up an average of 106.7 points per contest.
“I think defensively, we do a good job of controlling the basket,” Coach Karl said. “I’m concerned about transition [defense], the freedom of the ball, [and] how we control the ball.”
Kings guard Rajon Rondo had similar comments about the team’s focus on the defensive end.
“I don’t think [our] offense will be a problem,” said Rondo. “Obviously, you win championships with defensive stops. Our communication has to continue to get better. It’s not going to happen overnight, it will continue to progress throughout the season. Communication has to get better and our transition defense running back.”
Rondo continued to delve into how he wants to improve communication on the court by being a vocal leader while on the floor.
“I try to make it contagious,” Rondo said. “I’m trying to talk positive feedback to my teammates, letting guys know where to be on the floor on both ends of the court, offense and defense.”
Kings forward Rudy Gay was absent from practice today, as he left to be with his pregnant wife who was going into labor.
After today’s practice, Coach Karl also commented on the sad news yesterday regarding the passing of his NBA coaching colleague and friend, Flip Saunders.
“It was a heavy day yesterday for me,” Coach Karl said. “It’s just hard to explain. Cancer is hard and then it takes someone’s life that you have a lot of love and respect for. It was surprising.”