Head Coach Michael Malone meets with the media during Kings Training Camp.
SANTA BARBARA - The Kings new culture of change on the basketball court officially began Tuesday morning when the team opened training camp on the campus of U.C. Santa Barbara.
"We came here with a purpose, and lot of guys knew coming into training camp there were a lot of spots open for starting positions," said Head Coach Michael Malone. "Our goal when we step on the floor is to get better, and I can say with great confidence we got better today."
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who recently signed a 4-year 62 million dollar extension is one of the guaranteed starters this season.
However, even with the arrival of new point guard Greivis Vasquez, last season's starting point guard Isaiah Thomas isn't ready to give up his spot. And during the first day of camp, the competition was both fierce and fun between Vasquez and Thomas.
"Man I love that kid, I love him," said Vasquez when asked about Thomas. "I'm bigger he is smaller, and he is going to be beneficial to both, but at the end of the day it is about the team. I'm here to help him get better, and he is here to help me get better. It is not about heroes. We have to help this team win."
"They pushed each other, but they pushed each other the right way," Malone said when describing the battle between Thomas and Vasquez. "This is a competition, not matter what happens we have two talented point guards that are going to lead us to a lot of wins this year."
Veteran power forward Jason Thompson who has seen six different head coaches, already sees and feels the change with the new team.
"It starts with the top with different ownership, not having you guys (media) always asking me if we are going to stay here," said Thompson. "But definitely the mindset has changed. We are going to be a defensive team that can go out and score and become a fun team to watch."
The Kings continue training camp at U.C. Santa Barbara through Saturday. The open the preseason on Monday against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland.