Vince Carter embraces being "on the court coach" for young Kings team

Vince Carter, entering his 20th NBA season and first one in Sacramento with the Kings, is acting as a player-coach to the team's young players.

Some Kings fans still can't believe Vince Carter will be donning a purple jersey with "SAC" across his chest this season.

The 20-year NBA veteran signed a one-year, $8 million deal in July making Sacramento the seventh stop in his career.

"I was still playing, obviously, when Sacramento was a tough place to play and you had to come to play each and every time you stepped into this building," Carter said. "We want to bring that back but it takes steps and we don't want to skip steps to get to that point."

Even though the first practice of Training Camp was non-contact, the 40-year-old is already working to share his knowledge of both being a professional off the court and finding success on the court with his young teammates.

"I try to stay young but this kind of helps me be who I am," Carter said. "One thing I'll never do is overstep my boundaries of the coaching staff. I just try to be an outlet and the on the court coach as far as far as translating."

Carter played for Kings head coach Dave Joerger in Memphis which will facilitate the communication of expectations to the 10 players on the roster who are in their first or second NBA seasons. Although there is plenty of intrigue surrounding this new-look team, there is also a bit of impatience among fans. The Kings haven't made the playoffs since 2006, making them the team with the second longest playoff drought in the NBA.

"Everybody's like 'we want to win, we want to hold that trophy up' we all want to do the same thing and I might not be here when it happens," Carter said. "But it's all about laying the groundwork now with a lot of talent and a lot of great, young guys and that's what we're asking right now is just patience."

From becoming the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1998-1999 to now being the revered locker room leader, Carter's career has led many basketball fans. including teammate Garrett Temple, to dub him a future Hall of Famer. With "Vinsanity" just days away from taking the floor at the Golden 1 Center, the eight-time NBA All-Star believes fans in the kingdom will be satisfied with their squad.

"We know they [the fans] believe, we know they're going to come out and support and I think when we put that product opening night on the floor they'll be impressed," Carter said. "Yes, we're going to make mistakes. You're going to see tough nights. That's the growth process of maturing and becoming a winning basketball team."

The Kings host the San Antonio Spurs for their first preseason game on October 2 with the regular season tipping off at the Golden 1 Center on October 18 against the Houston Rockets.

Follow Lina Washington on Twitter: @LWashingtonTV


 

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