Kings Preparing for Regular Season

By Rob Small,

With two games left in the preseason, Kings head coach Paul Westphal has put together the starting line-up to start the regular season. There was much anticipation about who would start at small forward, but the decision’s been made.

With Westphal’s affinity for Omri Casspi to be the team’s sixth man, Donté Greene will be the team’s starting small forward. Here’s a look at the team’s starting line-up on Oct. 27 on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves:

PG – Beno Udrih

SG – Francisco García

SF –  Donté Greene

PF – Carl Landry

C – DeMarcus Cousins

Tyreke Evans will take García’s spot at shooting guard when his one-game suspension is over.

Greene didn’t come into training camp in shape. He hit the weight room over the summer and weighed in at 260 pounds, but the team didn’t ask him to add any more weight. He’s shaved off 18 pounds and is rebounding from a poor start in the preseason

“The main thing we want from Donté is enthusiasm,” Westphal said. “I think, early, Donté was battling conditioning issues and he also was, probably battling himself a little bit. I didn’t think he was bringing the same enthusiasm that we’ve come to expect. He was thinking too much.

Now, I see him playing a little looser. He has a good understanding of what we want and I think that he’s going out there and playing aggressively and with passion. That’s good to see.”

Greene, who’s scored in double figures in three of his five games, says he feels good the slow start. After earning the start he doesn’t plan to give it up like last season.

“I just got to continue to work hard,” he said. “Don’t let (the starting job) get comfortable like I did last year. I feel like I got a little comfortable last year and lost the job, but I’ll definitely work hard and keep it this year.”

Westphal thinks Casspi, a second-year Israeli player, will accept his role as a sixth man, even though he’s good enough to start. “He’s a very important part of our team,” Westphal said about Casspi. “I think he can give us a lot off the bench.

I think at this stage of his career, it’s a really good and important role for him. He understands it and he’s embracing it.”

The whole roster isn’t ready to play when the regular season begins. Center Samuel Dalembert is out for four to six weeks and shot blocking rookie hasn’t played one game in the preseason due to a knee injury.

With those two players out, that leaves Cousins, Landry, Jason Thompson and Darnell Jackson. Both Landry and Jackson are listed at six-feet-nine-inches, which is considered undersized for the power forward position, but Landry has proven to be an effective player.

Preseason is winding down, with two games left on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. Westphal wasn’t expecting to go into the season without Dalembert and possibly Whiteside, but the schedule doesn’t wait for injured players and the Kings will have to play with who they have.

After playing the T’Wolves, they will face the New Jersey Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers on their three-game road trip before they return for the home opener against the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 1.

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