Kings to get physical with Jazz

Australian NBA championship winner Matthew Dellavedova caused widespread debate in the US two years ago about his physical playing style, and Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze has warned the Utah Jazz to expect a similar approach from his side next week.

Gaze's Kings fly to Salt Lake City on Thursday to prepare for their clash with last season's western conference semi-finalists on October 3 (AEDT), marking the first time an NBL side has taken on an NBA franchise in an official pre-season match.

The Kings are one of three NBL teams playing in the US next month, with Melbourne United squaring off against Oklahoma City and the Brisbane Bullets facing the Phoenix Suns.

But the Kings have first crack at an NBA opponent, and while the contest looks a major mismatch on paper, Gaze said his side would not roll over and be easybeats.

"We're going out there, we shake their hands and might want to get a couple of autographs, but once that ball's tipped, we are fiercely competitive," Gaze said.

"There's been evidence of that with Australian teams playing against United States or other high-profile teams that there's very little intimidation that can be done that's going to be of a distraction for us, or make us submissive and cower into the corner and think 'woe is me, these guys are too good'.

"Hopefully we'll go out there and demonstrate a very fierce, competitive nature that's not going to take a backwards step, albeit that we're up against some guys with some very solid reputations and guys that have done a lot of fantastic things in the game."

One of those guys is Adelaide product Joe Ingles, the high school mate of Kings guard Brad Newley, who knows exactly what to expect from Sydney.

"He'll be sharing with the rest of the teammates and explaining them the Australian culture that we don't take a backward step," Gaze said.

"It's one of the reasons why we've got the invitation, it's because they understand that we're going to provide a very stern challenge.

"We're not going to be submissive we're going to go out there and be very aggressive at both ends of the floor.

"The way in which we've handled ourselves historically has held us in good stead, which is why we and other NBL teams have received these invitations to go over there."

The pre-season game on the other side of the Pacific has wreaked havoc with the Kings NBL preparation. Gaze's team returns to Australia next Friday, just a day before their season opener against the Adelaide 36ers at Qudos Bank Arena.

And his new-look squad, which includes American imports Perry Ellis and Travis Leslie, and Indian giant Amritpal Singh, only played their first practice game on Friday night.

"We're not where we hoped to be right now but we feel like the long-term journey that we're on, we've got some great tools to work with and got the potential to be a very good team," Gaze said.

"Unfortunately we haven't had a lot of time together.

"It does take a little while when you've got a lot of new guys coming in and not just new guys that you want to nurse into the situation, they're guys that are going to be strong impact players."

This story Kings to get physical with Jazz first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.