There was a "different dynamic" to practice at the Kings' facility Monday, said guard Jimmer Fredette. He was talking about being one of the most tenured players in the gym, though the differences ran deeper than that.
A full season now separates Fredette and the college career that fed expectations for his rookie year. He is 23 and married. And in this week's minicamp and the summer league that begins Friday, he's the Kings' point guard.
With Isaiah Thomas not on the summer league roster as he finishes his college degree, Fredette one of two returning Kings on the roster will have plenty of opportunity as the primary ballhandler.
"And I think that's what we're focusing around him," said Bobby Jackson, the Kings' summer league coach. "He's going to have the ball in his hand at the end of the game, in game situations. He's got to learn how to make calls, know who's hot and who's not hot, and that's part of being a point guard.
"He's going to have a lot of freedom to do a lot of things, play at point and just run the team. We just want him to flow into the offense, if he sees some mismatches, take advantage of it, and just show us he can be that point guard that he was in college."
Fredette struggled with that at times as a rookie last season, when he averaged 7.6 points and 1.8 assists while playing 18.6 minutes a game, mostly off the bench. His playing time fluctuated as the Kings searched for effective rotations.
When coach Keith Smart visited Fredette recently in Colorado, Fredette said, they worked out together for four days, emphasizing "a lot of ball-screen stuff, defensive lateral quickness," and also talked about Fredette's role.
"He just kind of told me what he expected out of me, what he wanted me to do," Fredette said. "He wants me to be a point guard, go out and make plays, be aggressive.
"I can dish when it's available, but also that threat to be able to score the basketball helps you get your teammates open. It's just all about the timing of it, when you've got to score or pass. It's a tricky thing, but I'll continue to get better at it."
Fredette said he values the summer league experience this season. Last year's lockout canceled summer activities and training camp, making for an abrupt transition for rookies across the league.
"I want to be able to go out and play the best that I can, show my abilities, gain some confidence and just show what I can do on the floor when I get out there and get a lot of playing time," Fredette said.
After Monday's practice, he already had a new fan in forward Thomas Robinson, the Kings' first-round draft pick last month.
"He's a good player, and he's smart," Robinson said. "Definitely one of the smartest players out here. He knows a lot for being in the league for one year."
Asked how Fredette looked during practice, Jackson cracked, "For a guy who just got married a month ago, he looked good."
Fredette recently tied the knot with longtime fiancee Whitney Wonnacott, who he said will be around a lot more this season. After a sometimes trying rookie season, he said, her presence should help put what happens on the court into perspective.
"You have a life outside of basketball," Fredette said. "And that's an important thing. That's more important than basketball, and I think that'll settle you down.
"She'll be here to settle me down through the good and the bad, so to be able to have something to lean on, that'll be good for me."