Pacific Notes: Kings, World Peace, Belinelli

Kings coach George Karl sees a world of difference between the team’s culture today and when he first arrived in Sacramento, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes. “The spirit in the locker room when I got here last year was, ‘Wow,’ ” Karl said. “I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms and ‘Wow,’ and that wow was not a good wow. It was ‘Wow.’ And now we’ve got a healthy NBA locker room. That’s the one thing I feel right now, and I think we’ve got a vastly improved basketball team.

The improved team chemistry is a by-product of the veterans the team has added, Jones notes. “Without a doubt,” point guard Darren Collison said of Karl’s assessment. “You’ve got vets like CB [Caron Butler], Rajon Rondo, Kouf [Kosta Koufos], guys that have been on teams where it meant something to them. So they try to instill those same principles into the locker room. It’s been a difference.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are hoping that Metta World Peace, who is in training camp on a non-guaranteed deal, can contribute beyond being a mentor to the younger players on the roster, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. “I think he just needs to show us that he’s still Metta. … He’s been great in training camp with our young guys,” coach Byron Scott said. “But we want to know if he can play at a high level. That’s the big thing.
  • Marco Belinelli was signed by the Kings this offseason for his outside shooting acumen, but he has impressed the team’s coaching staff with his ability to make his teammates around him better, Jones writes in a separate article. “[Belinelli] has a knack of making other people play the right way, which is an off-the-chart compliment even though you might not take it as a high compliment,” Karl said. “For a coach to say someone makes other people better is a high compliment.
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