Find out which group Coach Westphal sees as the team’s starting five. Plus, Fredette shares his eagerness to play in front of Kings fans and more.
When the Kings tip-off the 2011-12 season, Coach Paul Westphal would be “surprised” if the team didn’t start Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, DeMarcus Cousins and Chuck Hayes.
Though the starting unit could be altered in the event of an injury, the Kings coach said he hopes to stick with a consistent lineup.
Watch – Westphal Interview
Before tipping off preseason action against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, the Kings host Fan Fest Thursday at 5:45 p.m. The above-mentioned starting five, however, may not begin the full-team scrimmage set to tip-off at 7 p.m.
Evans (left foot) and Cousins (right ankle) both experienced setbacks during Wednesday’s practice and are listed as day-to-day.
While the young duo may miss time in the scrimmage, rookie Jimmer Fredette is eager to get his first Sacramento performance underway.
“I’m very excited for it,” the first-year sharpshooter said. “We haven’t played a game of basketball like that for a while. It will be fun to have the fans involved in it, and we’ll be playing hard…
“I’m really excited to play for these fans.”
Along with Fredette, Hayes, J.J. Hickson, Adrian Oliver and Lawrence Hill making their Kings intros, second-year center Hassan Whiteside also looks forward to making his Power Balance Pavilion debut.
When asked about the health of his surgically-repaired left knee, the Marshall product assured it “feels good.” As for the benefits of being a second-year player, Whiteside is thankful he will no longer have to bring the team bagels before practice nor wear a kid’s backpack to games.
“The only one who’s been sticking on their job is Jimmer,” No. 33 said when assessing the accountability of this year’s freshmen. “Jimmer does everything everybody says, but the other rookies have been slipping.”
Photos – Behind-The-Scenes Day 5
Watch – Jason Thompson Interview
Watch – Whiteside Interview
Watch – Fredette Interview
Notes: Through five days of training camp, Fredette and Thompson see a strong cohesion building amongst teammates.
“We have a group of guys who really like each other (and) enjoy each other’s company off the floor,” the BYU alum said. “That’s important and it translates onto the floor.”
“Everyone is starting to get accustomed to each other,” the fourth-year forward added. “You see the confidence in some guys – the rookies are starting to make the easy transition. Obviously, it’s going to be different when we start playing against other teams, but it has been getting more competitive each day.”
And one: Fans who follow Whiteside via Twitter.com/youngwhiteside may have noticed the highlight-reel-style avatar featured on the center’s profile. Wednesday, he shared the scoop on his video-game-inspired photo in which he is pictured dunking over teammates Thompson and Cousins.
“(Jason and DeMarcus) know I have bounce, so I had to go and show them a little something,” Whiteside joked. “I had 50 (points) with myself (in a game), so I had to go and put that up there.”
Though he captured a highlight for social media use, Whiteside admits his player ranking on NBA 2K12 has room for improvement.
“I’m sorry on there,” he conceded with a smile. “So it’s kind of hard to score, but I get it done.”
Next up: Connect with your favorite team on Thursday, Dec. 15 as Kings.com streams live from the team’s annual Media Day beginning at 10 a.m. PST. Fans are encouraged to participate by submitting questions for their favorite team via Facebook and Twitter. For more info, click here.
Later in the day, get your first glimpse of the 2011-12 Kings in action at Power Balance Pavilion as the team hosts Return of the Kings Fan Fest. For more information and to get tickets, click here.