Sounding a warning to their rivals, Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton on Thursday (3) promised high-quality basketball as they gear up to take on Indiana Pacers in NBA pre-season friendly games, being held in India for the first time.
The two NBA teams will clash in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
“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, the former LA Lakers forward, said.
“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.”
Kings player 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.
Marvin Bagley, 20, said that the team would treat Friday’s clash as a normal game and his aim was to make it to the playoffs.
De’Aaron Fox, who is with the Kings for the third season, said the team will have to quickly learn and these games are only meant for that purpose.
The Sacramento players, who landed in the city after visiting the iconic Taj Mahal, participated in their training session where they performed their usual drills.
Kings’s Indian owner Vivek Randive said he is super excited to be back the city of his origin.
“I’m happy to be back in the city of my forefathers. These games are a first step in a long journey. I fully expect these games will continue and hopefully multiple players will come out of India and play in the NBA. And hopefully, we will have more arenas to play these games,” he said
Basketball will be the second most popular sport in India after cricket. Of course, cricket is a national pastime and in the land of (MAK) Pataudi and (Sachin) Tendulkar it will be difficult to replace that but basketball and India are meant to be together.”