The Sacramento Kings hosted the first of a three-day Summer League mini-camp Tuesday morning. Nothing was held back as the practice ran 50 minutes over its scheduled time.
George Karl was not in attendance when the media arrived, but he addressed the group of young players prior. Karl’s assistant coaches Chad Iske and John Welch oversaw the operation, as Vance Walberg, Corliss Williamson, Reno Bighorns head coach David Arsenault Jr. and former NBA point guard Anthony Carter helped out.
Along with Carter, Ben McLemore made a surprise cameo, participating in drills despite having no obligation to do so. McLemore is not expected to play in Las Vegas.
The media was allowed to watch the end of a 5-on-5 scrimmage. Most of the offense was generated through outside shots and fast breaks, yet Willie Cauley-Stein got involved a bit. Streaking down the right baseline, the Kings lottery pick nearly threw down a hard alley-oop dunk before getting fouled.
Former UC Davis star Corey Hawkins, who is hoping to parlay a strong Summer League showing into a training camp invite, talked to the media. Cauley-Stein and NBA veterans Eric Moreland and James Anderson spoke as well.
Moreland noted he was cleared for full basketball activities last month after suffering a left shoulder labral tear in December.
Players Notes and Quotes
- Corey Hawkins on his game translating to Summer League: “Yeah, absolutely. I mean I hope so, at least. Being able to keep defenders on their toes, being able to shoot the ball and make the right pass, make the right read. Hopefully make it difficult to defend me and being able to find other guys on the court. Add a little diversity to the court.”
- Hawkins on his Summer League opportunity: “It’s incredible. Like people told me all summer, I’m basically fighting for a job. So you have to go in, be yourself, don’t go out of your comfort zone. But just know that it really is a competition, and go about it in a civil, classy way. Nothing but respect for everybody here. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m going to give it my all.”
- Willie Cauley-Stein on the X’s and O’s: “You just got to try to learn the system. I’ve already been in a system similar so now it’s just like learning terminology, it’s different. So you got to learn the terminology, and you know, my whole focus is being aggressive. When I’m on one side of the floor, just stay aggressive. Everything else is pretty much the same.”
- Cauley-Stein on what he’s done since the draft: “I went home for a week. Nah honestly just went home and slept a lot, got a lot of rest. Been on to go a lot, so it’s just good to get back home and just sleep in my own bed, and then come out here ready to work.”
- Cauley-Stein on a Kentucky practice compared to an NBA practice: “It’s similar. Drill to drill, no breaks. Just try to keep the pace really high. I mean that (was) basically the whole goal in practice, just to keep it really intense. Some highs, some lows, your motor’s always going because that’s how we want to play. It’s really fast. So they make all the drills really fast and where you got to learn on the go…everything is just really fast. You just got to stay focused on what’s going on.”
- Cauley-Stein on his current priorities: “Just to kind of feel out everybody. Try to get everybody’s name down, who likes to shoot where or who’s more on attack on the wing, stuff like that. You’re just trying to figure out everyone’s game. Still trying to establish yourself too, but the big focus for me is just learning everybody, you know. You got to become a team.”
- Cauley-Stein on his last conversation with Karl: “We talked yesterday before a little workout, and basically he just told me, we’re not worried about you making mistakes. We just want you to play really aggressive, on both sides of the ball. When I catch the ball, 15-foot, mid-post or the post, just be aggressive and try to attack the rim. And then on defense, do what I do.”
- Eric Moreland on getting back on the floor: “It’s been good. Just got to get in a little bit more shape before Summer League. Got to get in a lot more repetitions and it’s been good, a lot of drills are carrying over into 5 on 5 and I feel great. Just ready to show everybody what I can do in Summer League.”
- Moreland on his left shoulder: “It feels really good. I’ve been hurt for a long time, so just to be able to move my shoulder any type of way, that feels like a superpower. So it feels great to be healthy again.”
- Moreland on how Cauley-Stein’s presence affects his job security: “Not at all. Just control what you can control, it’s all you can do. I don’t focus on that, I’m always learned to control what you can control and go out there and do my part and let the rest take care of itself.”
- James Anderson on how he ended up in Sacramento: “I got back a month ago from Lithuania (playing pro ball), so I was talking to a couple teams and Sac made interest, and my agent got the job done.”
- Anderson on how the Kings coaching staff appealed to him: “Definitely, from watching coach Karl and his system. I think that system fits me perfect and I can show what I can do in it.”
- Anderson on his experience in Lithuania: “I really enjoyed it. It was way different than I thought it would be. Going over there I really didn’t know what to expect. Me being on my own for the first time, my family back in the states. It was tough at times but for the most part, the country really accepted me and showed me a lot of love.”
- Anderson on Euroleague competition: “It was a lot better than I thought it would be. Just the talent level. Especially in the Euroleague, when you’re playing again many different guys who probably have a chance to make the league, or are on the cusp, and some other great Euroleague legends and stuff over there that played over there for a long time. So the talent level was way higher than I thought it was.”
- Anderson on his Summer League goals: “Just to gain trust from the coaches. Show them what I’m capable of. Besides that, the fans already know what I did in Philly, what I’m capable of. But to the other coaching staff and teammates and stuff like that, just show them what I can do.”
The Kings will hold their next Summer League practices in Sacramento on Wednesday and Thursday before playing the Toronto Raptors in Las Vegas on Friday.