New Sacramento Kings players recap their first day of training camp

Oct 3, 2023, 1:51 PM

JaVale McGee #00 of the Sacramento Kings poses for a photo at Sacramento Kings Practice Facility on...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: JaVale McGee #00 of the Sacramento Kings poses for a photo at Sacramento Kings Practice Facility on October 02, 2023 in Sacramento, California. 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 Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The first day of the Sacramento Kings 2023-24 training is officially in the books.

With media day in the rearview mirror, the team is getting started on implementing schemes, evaluating their talent, and getting acclimated with one another.

While most of the roster remained the same, some standout additions were made by Monte McNair, Wes Wilcox, and the rest of Sacramento’s front office. Euroleague MVP Sasha Vezenkov and veteran center JaVale McGee are among the headliners of newcomers to Sacramento.

Following training camp on Tuesday, Vezenkov and McGee spoke with the media regarding their first impressions, getting accustomed to new players and coaches, and more.

After their final free throw drills, the team huddled for some final words. All-Star De’Aaron Fox briefly spoke to the group before McGee also gave his input. Seeing a player come in and feel comfortable vocalizing in the team environment is notable.

“Just focus on the little things. We have a habit of sometimes some guys can have a whole conversation with a guy while the drill is going on and then, when it’s his turn, just go and do what he has to do, but some people don’t have that skill to be able to multitask like that,” McGee said on what he discussed with his teammates. “So, I was just telling them you got to realize who you’re talking to because you might be messing up the next guy who’s trying to make the team or something.”

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McGee was not always a vocal leader and said each situation is different. It isn’t appropriate on every roster, but he’s ready to make that impact with the Kings.

“My veteran leadership will definitely show up on this team,” McGee said.

As for his fit within their schemes, the Nevada alum aims to be a defensive anchor for a team that was 24th in defensive ranking last season, per NBA Stats. Physicality is a major emphasis from the coaching staff coming into this season, and the veteran big said that was felt on day one on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.

Vezenkov does not have the same vocal approach as the seven-footer.

“I like to do my job,” Vezeknov said. “Obviously, everybody is different. Everybody has different characteristics so I’m okay with anything and everything… I think the leadership is more on the court and the way you work, and the work ethic you have. It’s more with your actions than it is verbally. We have those types of guys here and I’m glad.”

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The forward’s record-breaking shooting was a hot topic of conversation coming out of media day. He clarified that Fox may have given him a few more makes when relaying the news but credits his consistent work.

“You have to practice every day, every day, every day, and some days will be better than others,” Veznkov said. “But, I’m from where you have to work hard and give everything in practice. Whatever you practice is whatever you bring in a game.”

Nobody expects a seamless transition to the NBA for Vezenkov. He’s obviously in conversation with coaches and players around the Sacramento Kings but has also spoken to some of his former teammates with NBA experience. Isaiah Canaan and Kostas Papanikolaou, who played with Vezenkov last season on Olympiacos B.C., have been resources during his transition.

Pace and physicality were repeated a handful of times between media day and the debut of training camp. McGee, Vezenkov, and the other additions will continue to adjust to the Sacramento Kings preferred style of play as camp continues.

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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