SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings opened the first day of training camp at the team’s practice facility on Saturday. Coach Michael Malone spoke with the media after running the team through the first of two practices.
On the first day of camp: “It felt great to be back at the gym. Early on, we had great energy. Guys competed, got after it. It gets a little sloppy at times on day one which is to be expected. Really did like the energy that we had throughout that first practice.”
On how to improve the offense from last season: “Being unselfish. Don’t hold (the basketball). We want to trust the pass. Have that kind of a mentality. If you’re holding the ball, you are wrong. If you’re standing, you are wrong. We are really trying to get them to understand we are trying to make a play for our teammates. Pass, shoot, drive immediately with no hesitation.”
On improving the defense: “We made strides with our defense, but we still have long ways to go. Our best defense will be our offense. An improved offense will allow us to get back, set our defense and become a much improved defensive team.”
On only five repeat attendees from last year’s camp: “It’s going to take some time to create that chemistry, that trust on the court and to get guys used to playing with each other. That does not happen overnight. But anything we can do in practice, to accelerate that, obviously we are going to try to do because we play in a week or so in Vancouver against Toronto. Before you know it, Oct. 29 will be here and we’ve got a home opener against Golden State.”
On what he is looking for from his point guards: “I want them to push the ball. I want them to throw the ball ahead, the advance pass. We want to attack the clock so we are not in late clock situations. Be a facilitator. Be a true play-making point guard. Get everybody else involved. When you are left open, have the ability to knock down open shots. Have the ability to value the ball and be a low turnover point guard. Step up and make your free throws and guard your position. Be able to contain the basketball one-on-one and play good pick-and-roll defense. If Darren (Collison), Ramon (Sessions), and Ray (McCallum) can do those things, then we’ll have a lot of quality point guards to help us out.”
On Collison: “He knows what winning is about. That’s what I like about him. He’s been a winner. Last year, we had the fewest amount of playoff games played in the NBA. So to get a guy like Darren Collison, who’ve been to the playoffs for quite a few teams, is only going to help us. He knows what it takes. He knows how to build a proper work habits every day and I’m looking forward to him being one of the leaders of this team.”