Yesterday we took a look at the Clippers and today we’re headed up north to take a good look at the Sacramento Kings in effort to check out previews for all NBA teams.
From Zach Harper, Cowbell Kingdom: What are the team’s biggest strengths? Aside from the franchise player on the perimeter entering his second year, this team’s biggest strength has to be on the boards. With a legit four-man rotation inside (Dalembert, Cousins, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson), the Kings have a steady stream of bruising big men who like to attack the glass and control the interior. Sacramento was third in the NBA in offensive rebounding last season while also finishing tenth. Now by replacing Spencer Hawes’ affinity for kicking it on the perimeter for Dalembert’s length and athleticism that hangs around the rim, you’ve got a big upgrade in veteran rebounding to go with the future double-double machine that is DeMarcus Cousins. You can definitely beat this team on the boards but you’re going to have to work your tail off to do it.
Now, on to the Lakers links…
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: When Pau Gasol is curled up with a good book and lost in a fictional or historical world the way he so enjoys, it doesn’t matter. When he’s back home in Spain with friends and family who loved him when his hair was short and his dreams went long, nothing’s different. But in society at large, anywhere across this globe Gasol blanketed in his summer off from basketball, things have changed substantially. He is celebrated for the winner he is now. That means he can be celebrated for the kind, contemplative person he always was. Wrapping up his second consecutive summer as an NBA champion, Gasol recognizes the difference in the world around him.
An interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Lakers.com: Among the many lessons you learned from Coach Wooden, is there a particular life lesson that stands out in your mind that he imparted to you??KAJ: I have benefitted the most from the way Coach Wooden taught about being prepared. His coaching style was one the emphasized intense preparation for what his team could do and achieve. It made us understand that our concern should be about what we control and not to worry about what the other team was about. Was there a particular basketball lesson that you learned from him that carried through to the rest of your career??KAJ: Coach Wooden always emphasized being in shape. It was the most fundamental preparation that effected your ability to perform. So being in shape was the key was the key to being able to execute the important parts of the game.
From David Aldridge, NBA.com: Bryant was noticeably slowed by the knee injury early in the playoffs, and the bad finger was a major factor in his shooting 45.6 percent from the floor, the lowest percentage he’s had in four years. But the surgery cleaned out the knee and Bryant took the summer off from the U.S. world championship squad to rest both injuries; no one other than his teammate Pau Gasol has gone though a two-year stretch like Bryant, starting with a Finals appearance (and loss) in June, 2008, leading the U.S. team to Olympic gold in Beijing a couple of months later, winning his fourth title in ’09, and coming back to repeat with the Lakers last season. There hasn’t been much intel out of L.A. since the July operation, though Bryant said through a Nike spokesman in an event in New York last month that he was working toward getting ready for camp. “I’m doing rehab constantly for my knee,” he said, “making sure the leg is getting stronger. As soon as the leg gets strong enough to go, that’s when I turn it up.”