Sacramento Kings coach Walton assures 'high level basketball' against Indiana Pacers

Sacramento Kings coach, Luke Walton, made it clear that it will be a high intensity match against Indiana Pacers as the NBA India games 2019 is all set to begin.

Luke Walton, coach of Sacramento Kings during a practice session ahead of NBA India games 2019 at NSCI dome in Mumbai.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

As players of Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers walked into the NSCI Dome for a training session on Thursday afternoon, they were surprised to see the facilities.

The stage all set for the first-ever NBA pre-season fixture in the country, the players also interacted with some of the young cagers from various city schools, before getting back to business.

But Sacramento Kings coach, Luke Walton, made it clear that both the teams will display high-quality basketball over the next couple of days.

“No matter who is on the court, it’s going to be very high level basketball because both teams know how important it is to us, and how important it is to the NBA,” Walton told reporters.

The former Los Angeles Lakers forward also stated that this will be a new experience for the players, ahead of another gruelling season.

“We love the group that we have and even though we are a new group, we know how to play basketball, we know how to coach basketball. It’s about getting our team to come together,” Walton said.

Even Indiana Pacers coach, Nate McMillan, echoed a similar view. “It’s going to be an intense game in the sense that for both the teams, it’s their first pre-season game. Both will see where they are and what they need to work on. We will be playing most of our guys in the next two games,” McMillan said.

“We will see where we are. We had six practices since we started. We have seven new guys in our roster. We are looking for their chemistry. You build the chemistry with an opportunity to play,” the coach said.

McMillan also pointed out that now with NBA cutting down on the number of pre-season games, the India tour becomes even more important.

“Earlier, we used to play about eight pre-season games a year and now we are down to four a year. You don’t have lot of opportunities to allow your guys to warm up and get the rhythm. All these games are important,” he said.

Kings’ new recruit, Harrison Barnes, also promised to compete hard. “It is our first pre-season game and we want to get into rhythm. This is a start to lot more pre-season games coming here (in India),” Barnes said.