Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Sacramento Kings coach George Karl recently had a “very powerful meeting” with two of his star players, newly arrived Rajon Rondo and the well-established and skilled, but not always calm DeMarcus Cousins.
“It was a powerful meeting for all three of us,” Rondo told Yahoo Sports.
Rondo said he had been hoping in recent weeks to get a meeting with just himself, Karl and Cousins, adding that the discussion felt “natural” and Karl was receptive, positive and open-minded. Rondo and Cousins were also able to get some lingering frustrations off their chest, and Karl offered back his thoughts.
“We asked him to just sit with us so we can pick his brain and share our thoughts,” Rondo told Yahoo Sports. “What I love about [Karl] is he’s very open. George is not a dictator. ‘What can we do positively? What can we do to improve?’
According to Spears, the three were initially just going to chat for 15 minutes but the meeting ran on for two hours.
Lest you think the tone of these meetings was the head coach straightening out two star players with a certain history of head casery, think again. It was them telling him what they needed from him.
The main thing Rondo and Cousins told Karl was that his film sessions would be better with more constructive criticism and teaching. Rondo and Cousins said they also told Karl not to hesitate to use them as examples in film sessions.
“I told him to start with me. Whatever I can do to help the team,” Rondo told Yahoo Sports. “If you have to bully me or call me out, I can accept that. I’m a 10-year vet. I learned from [former Boston Celtics coach] Doc [Rivers] and the past guys that it has to start with the vets who have the most leeway on the team or the most responsibility.
There’s a cynical way of taking this where the prima donna superstars are putting the coach in his play. But it doesn’t seem that’s the case here. It’s more them giving him permission to coach them, which is actually kind of cool.