Programming Note: Raptors-Kings coverage starts with Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California
Despite 29 turnovers on Sunday, the Kings fell to Toronto by only five points 99-94 in Vancouver.
With only five returning players from last year’s training camp roster, the turnovers are somewhat expected.
“Guys were trying too much to make the right play. We need to settle down and value the basketball and can’t play offense and defense at the same pace," Coach Michael Malone said after Monday's practice.
"You can’t beat your opponent and yourself on the same night," Malone added.
Improving Offensive Pace?
Ah, there’s the key word in the quote, “pace.” The Kings finished last in assists per game in the NBA last season and have brought in veteran point guards, Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions to improve offensive pace and efficiency.
Sessions led the Kings in scoring on Sunday night with 14 points, while Collison chipped in 13 points, six assists and committed only a single turnover.
“Our guards did a good job of taking care of the ball especially Ramon and Darren,” Malone said.
So how can you tell if the Kings are improving on offense? Malone expressed the team’s desire to “attack the clock” by getting the ball across half court with 21 seconds on the shot clock to explore early scoring opportunities and “run but run with discipline.”
If the early scoring opportunity doesn’t present itself, ample time exists to get into the set offense, and exhibit the “trust the pass, play for each other” mentality that Malone is preaching featuring multiple ball reversals with the ultimate goal of uncontested looks.
Of course, with so many new faces, Malone acknowledges, “Slowing down is our biggest challenge on offense.”
Minutes for Ray, More for Omri?
Malone regretted that Ray McCallum was a DNP Coaches Decision vs Toronto on Sunday praising the Kings Summer League Championship MVP’s work ethic. A
The coach acknowledged that McCallum has a “battle on his hands competing with Sessions and Collision,” for minutes at point guard.
“One thing I feel very confident about is Ray staying ready. He didn’t play all year, Isaiah Thomas goes down and came in like he didn't miss a beat. I’m going to give him an opportunity the next two exhibition games because he deserves that opportunity," Malone said.
Omri Casspi will likely see more playing time tonight as well as he only toiled seven minutes in the first exhibition game. Malone likes his “toughness and ability to make others better,” in addition to his shooting.
Casspi is hoping to win in his second go round in Sacramento.
“I know what it takes now to be a winning team. Last year in Houston was really hard but at the end of the day we won 55 games... and that kind of run is fun,” Casspi said
Not Five Best, Best Five
Expect different combinations tonight as the coaching staff tries to find the right chemistry and balance on the floor to compete on a nightly basis during the regular season.
“Tonight’s another opportunity to improve,” Malone said.
And for the Kings after known quantities, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, Sacramento may know a little more about the supporting cast after tonight’s game as they strive to improve upon back to back 28 win seasons.