Coach Mike Brown is satisfied with the team’s competitive spirit early into camp

Oct 6, 2023, 12:08 PM

Head coach Mike Brown of the Sacramento Kings looks on against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the se...

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 30: Head coach Mike Brown of the Sacramento Kings looks on against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second quarter at Target Center on January 30, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Days one and two of the Sacramento Kings’ 2023-24 training camp was filled with drills and breakdowns. But on Thursday night, head coach Mike Brown elected to go with a full-court five-on-five scrimmage. Officials were even brought in to emulate a gamelike environment, and there certainly was no lack of competitiveness.

The media witnessed some of the deeper bench pieces go at it. Jalen Slawson was aggressive on defense and let the other team hear it. Harrison Barnes gave the rookie from Furman a hard time while at the free throw line, and Slawson barked back. Training camp is an opportunity for players to prove they belong, for some to prove they deserve to make the final roster, allow the new additions to get acclimated, and for the core to get into a rhythm.

Coach Brown has enjoyed seeing the back-and-forths.

“I told them when we were in our huddle, I said that the one thing that you like is the competitive spirit,” Brown said. “We talk about winning every day. You’ve got to win every day with your competitive spirit or work ethic. Both of those go hand in hand. Focusing on the details, trying not to let any detail be too small for us, and then buying into that individual commitment of sacrifice and trying to do the right thing for the group’s one common goal.”

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It’s hard to garner any significant takeaways from a small peek at the final minutes of camp, but it’s worth noting that Keon Ellis and Cobly Jones were a backcourt duo in one of the units. With a lack of traditional point guard depth, one of those guys could emerge as an option if needed.

The eight players who led the team in minutes played last season have returned. That continuity has simplified the transition and eased the process for newcomers, including Euroleague MVP Sasha Vezenkov, Chris Duarte, and JaVale McGee.

“It’s just that corporate knowledge. You got that corporate knowledge from last year,” Mike Brown said. “We got a lot of guys that have returned from last year, so they’ve been through it. They know kind of what to expect from us to a certain degree on both ends of the floor, and then they’re able to help the new guys because they have that corporate knowledge.”

Everyone has been a full participant in camp up to this point with 21 players competing for 17 spots. Jeremy Lamb, Jaylen Nowell, Deonte Burton, and Chance Comanche are expected to be key members in those battles.

After three consecutive days, the Kings are planning non-contact work for Friday. They will review the film from Thursday’s practice and get shots up. Another day of contact work is scheduled for Saturday before the team travels to Vancouver for their preseason debut against the Toronto Raptors.

Coach Mike Brown plans to approach preseason similarly to how he did last year.

Guys will play a few minutes,” Brown said. “We’re going to try to play as many guys as we can, take a look at them, and then, as the preseason goes along, we’ll up the ante a little bit in terms of minutes.”

Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule

  • Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason Opener)
  • Wednesday, October 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7 PM PST (in Anaheim, CA)
  • Sunday, October 15th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
  • Wednesday, October 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
  • Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST

Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule

  • Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
  • Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM (Season Opener)
  • Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM (Home Opener)

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