SANTA BARBARA, CA - When the Kings opened training camp at UC Santa Barbara, Head Coach Michael Malone made it known that every starting job was up for grabs.
"I think we all knew coming into training camp there were a lot of spots open, starting positions, and the guys have brought it." said Malone.
Kings deep at power forward
The battle for power forward may be the most competitive position up for grabs. Fifth year Kings veteran Jason Thompson will have to fight off both Patrick Patterson who the Kings acquired last season and free agent Carl Landry.
"It is nothing I haven't seen before," said Thompson. "I know what I can do, and we all try to be successful and I'm not worried about guys' playing position."
"I think the power forward position is very, very deep," added Malone. "I don't think any NBA team has the depth at power forward. You are talking about Thompson, Patterson and Landry and they all bring a little something different to the table, but those are three players who deserve to be on the floor."
Fierce but friendly battle for point guard
The point guard position may feature two of the most competitive and different players on the team. Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas have had the most fierce, but friendly battles through two days of training camp.
"We are two totally different players and we are going to help each other out no matter what," said Thomas. "I am going to help him, because I'm a small guard that likes to get underneath of him on the defensive end, and he is going to help me because most guards are his height in the NBA anyways (smiles)."
"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."
Marcus Thornton the "Microwave"
Most likely, the shooting guard spot belongs to Marcus Thornton as rookie Ben McLemore adjusts to the speed and life in the NBA. Malone gave high praise for the six year veteran who averaged nearly 19 points per game as a starter two seasons ago.
"My father (Brendan Malone) coached a guy by the name of Vinny Johnson, known as the "Microwave" in Detroit," said Malone. "And I look at Marcus as a scorer off the bench or as a starter who can come in and change the game in a heartbeat. But what I like about Marcus is he has bought in to the defensive end of the floor."
Can't bench $62 million
Maybe the only Kings player guaranteed to start is DeMarcus Cousins. The team named him the centerpiece of the franchise, signing him to a 4-year $62-Million contract extension on Monday. Through two days of training camp, Cousins appeared extremely relax and comfortable with his new role as the leader of the team.
"I like what I see, everyone is committed, everyone is buying in," said Cousins. "There is a big difference, everyone is held accountable, there is a sense of responsibility here, and we know what we want. We had different situations going on in the past. Now everyone is on the same page, everyone has the same goal."
The Kings continue training camp at UC Santa Barbara through Saturday. They open the NBA preseason on Monday against Golden State in Oakland.