I am going to miss training camp on Sundays. There is nothing better than full court scrimmages with an almost full roster to work with. Coach Westphal again tooled with a big line-up today, playing Cousins, Thompson and Landry together for long stints, along with Garcia and Evans. They were matched up with Whiteside, Jackson and Casspi as their opponents, which was intriguing to say the least. Casspi and Thompson got a little bit chippy with each other, but nothing too serious. Whiteside had a couple of monster blocks, but Cousins returned the favor late with a violent rejection that almost had Whiteside looking for a new head. I will have coaches comments on this action below.
Dalembert is still out, BUT he made reference to possibly being ready to go against New Jersey the second game of the season. I’m not sure this is a reality at this point, but he is working hard everyday to get back. The adductor injury Dalembert sustained is one of those err on the side of caution type injuries. Once Dalembert thinks he’s ready, I would then give him another week.
Coaches Notes and Quotes:
- Coach Westphal on the multiple technical fouls given out during the scrimmage today: “Guys were into it and we’re trying to teach them some poise while they’re playing hard.”
- On the roster as of today: “Right now we have 14 guys and it will be that way until it’s different.”
- On the offense taking shape: “I thought it was a good day today. We didn’t have to teach new things, we just had to review today and it seemed to be a good step in the right direction.”
- On the team’s defense against Utah on Friday night: “When you can shoot so poorly and turn the ball over 20 times, and hang close with a team like Utah on their home floor, that means your defense is doing okay.”
- On the big line-up from the Utah game that included Whiteside, Thompson and Landry: “I was happy with it and we’ll see more of it.”
- On Hassan Whiteside’s development over the last few days of practice: “He had some good moments and some moments where he had to scratch his head afterward because we’re playing real physical.”
- On Whiteside’s aggressive offensive play: “Whiteside likes to score. He likes to shoot and he has a turnaround shot that is real reliable and he’s got some good moves around the basket.”
- On harnessing Cousins’ “fire” in the Utah game: “What fire did you see in the game on Friday because I must have missed that.” (no, this wasn’t my line of questions, but I did find Westphal’s reaction humorous.)
- On his “spirited play” today: “Yeah, he was, he was spirited. It’s a fine line between being spirited and losing your poise and we’re trying to help him walk that.”
- On Carl Landry’s progress through camp: “I have a lot of confidence in Carl. I probably have more confidence in him than he has in himself. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Carl Landry yet, but he’s still bringing a lot to the game for us.”
- On Pooh Jeter vs. Luther Head: “I think sometimes it’s one and sometimes it’s the other. It depends on the flow of the game, and the match-ups, and our injury situation. There are a lot of variables.”
I sat down with Hassan Whiteside for a minute just to check in now that he is fully back and here is that exchange:
TPP: How is your knee feeling?
HW: It’s still sore but still I’m trying to get back my lateral mobility and quickness that I had and my jumping ability. I’m still working and taking it day by day.
TPP: I noticed both in the game against Utah and in today’s practice you looked really aggressive offensively.
HW: It’s just really me trying to make statements to the coach that I can score. I’m just really trying to be aggressive and trying to win.
TPP: I watched you take the ball in the post right at DeMarcus, you seem to have no fear down there.
HW: Ain’t no fear man, ain’t no fear.
TPP: With the season so near, do you think you’re going to be active for games or is it going to take a little while to get in game shape?
HW: I’m not really sure. It might take a couple of games, but the minutes I do get, I just want to go out there and play hard and aggressive.
TPP: How do you like Sacramento so far?
HW: It’s laid back, it’s peaceful. It’s kind of like being down South. Real nice weather, the people have been nice. The fans really support us. It’s like college here and they’re just real supportive of the Kings.
It’s very nice to see Whiteside get in there and mix it up. He is a young player, and after missing so much time, I assumed it would take him a while to get back up to speed. So far, it looks like he might just be able to contribute a little sooner than expected. I will have more on Hassan shortly.
Training camp ends tomorrow and the team has a travel day on Tuesday before the season opener in Minnesota on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure that the Kings will begin the season with 14 players, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move when Dalembert returns. Drop by tomorrow morning for The Purple Panjandrum’s pre-season interview with Kings forward Antoine Wright.