Kings looking to improve defense ahead of training camp

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Mike Brown has a history with De’Aaron Fox.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Mike Brown has a history with De’Aaron Fox.

The Sacramento Kings freshman coach, who has spent the past six seasons with the Golden State Warriors as an assistant, first got a glimpse of Fox while helping out at an Adidas Nations Camp. Fox was in high school at the time.

Brown said he saw elite defensive traits back then that can translate to the present. Brown will get a glimpse of Fox and the rest of the Kings when the team opens training camp on Tuesday.

« I’m thrilled the potential is there, » Brown said. « He’s a remarkable young man…just knowing the potential he has and seeing him in high school at Adidas Nations and also seeing him here when we play pick-up. »

Brown bonded with his 24-year-old star goaltender early on. He attended Fox’s wedding this summer and said it was « probably the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to. »

Several Kings players arrived in Sacramento a few weeks before Monday’s media day. The players took part in training sessions and scrimmages behind closed doors. They also bonded outside of the facility — something that was instilled by Brown.

« The fact that we’ve had so many guys in Sacramento (is huge), » Fox said. “I have been here for a month. We had guys here before I was even here. The guys are ready to go, play for each other and go out and win games.

The theme of the training camp will be defense. Sacramento has ranked among the worst defensive units in the league since the start of a 16-year playoff drought. The Kings last made the playoffs in the 2005-06 season.

« Having a defensive-minded head coach, he’s going to focus on defense, » Davion Mitchell said. « The culture he came from, where they were really good defensively, he’s going to try to bring that to our team. »

Sacramento in the offseason signed Malik Monk to a two-year, $19 million deal. Fox and Monk were teammates at Kentucky during the 2016-17 season.

« We talk every day, » Fox said. « Being with him every day now is definitely a good thing. … We throw passes at each other that no one else in the team will throw.

This is Fox’s first training camp with big man Domantas Sabonis, who was acquired at last season’s NBA trade deadline. They only managed to play 15 games together last season.

« I’m excited, » Sabonis said. “It will only get better. The more we play together, the more we will know our habits and what we like… we organize a training camp together and as the season progresses, our chemistry will improve more and more.

This is the first training camp for Keegan Murray. The Iowa rookie echoed what Brown preached defensively.

« It will be good for me to experience (his coaching), » Murray said. « Obviously in Iowa a lot of the things we did were offensive. I’m excited to learn these new things on this side of the court.

Several Kings teammates were impressed with what they saw of the 22-year-old forward, including Mitchell, who is one of the best defensemen on the team.

« He’s a quiet guy, but you can see how confident he is in his game, » Mitchell said. “He is dynamic. He can do everything on the ground, shoot the ball, play without the ball.

Sabonis also praised Murray. They should start in the court before this season.

« He’s been great, » Sabonis said.


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Cameron Salerno, Associated Press


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