The Kings‘ locker room could be rather volatile this season given some of the strong personalities present, and the team is likely to rely on veteran forward Caron Butler to act as a stabilizing influence, Alec J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today writes. Butler, who inked a two-year, minimum salary deal with Sacramento this offseason, understands that he was brought in more for his intangibles than for his statistics, the USA Today scribe notes. “Off general principle, you get a certain respect for being around for so long and guys just respect you,” Butler said. “But at the same time, you gradually come to the position to address issues vocally. I’m more of a guy that likes pulling guys to the side to just talk to them one on one and educate them.”
Here’s more out of the Pacific Division:
- One storyline for the Lakers during the 2015/16 campaign will be how well center Roy Hibbert will fit in with the team, and if he’ll play his way into being either a part of the franchise’s future, or become a possible trade deadline asset, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes.
- Jon Leuer, after having spent the last month working out in Phoenix, is excited about what he can do in the Suns‘ offense given his strong outside shooting, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “Seeing how we can get up and down, just being able to run the floor and play at this pace are things that will really help,” Leuer said. “I feel one of the undervalued parts of my game is how I can get out and run. And seeing where the shots will come and how they come is something I feel really comfortable with.” The 26-year-old was acquired in a draft day trade with the Grizzlies. Coro recently took part in our interview series, “The Beat,” and weighed in on a number of topics related to the Suns.
- With the team’s stars now surrounded by a solid and versatile supporting cast, the Clippers will be expected to advance deep into the playoffs, writes Tim Bontemps of The New York Post (Facebook link) in his season preview. If Los Angeles is unable to do so, it may be time for the franchise to consider making significant roster changes, Bontemps adds.