The point guard often is a team's leader, but it takes more than simply bringing the ball up the court to fill that role.
As a veteran, that's something Aaron Brooks understands. Signed by the Kings in July, Brooks had been coveted by them for several years because he's a young player (27) with experience who can grow with a young core of players.
"What I say to him is to be yourself, don't wait to lead," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Leaders don't wait, and I'm trying to pull that out of him to lead and help players lead, because he's going to have the ball. I believe the point guard has to do that because he's going to have the ball the majority of the time."
Isaiah Thomas finished last season as the Kings' starting point guard and expects to continue in that role this season, but Brooks started Monday's preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers and scored 16 points in 20 minutes.
Don't expect a point-guard controversy just yet. Following Monday's game, Brooks said he doesn't need to start to make an impact.
"It's just maximizing opportunity," Brooks said. "When you're open, you hit shots. The less minutes you play, the more energy you can use, so I'm happy that I'm in a situation where we have good players. Tyreke (Evans), Isaiah and Jimmer (Fredette) are good point guards, so it makes us a lot more dangerous."
Smart could try another starter at point guard tonight when the Kings host the Warriors. Thomas started the preseason opener last week against Phoenix.
"I'm not looking at it as the job to lose or the job to win," Smart said. "I'm looking at the job that gets done. Whichever guys get it done with the things that I want from them as far as running a team, being competitive, being who you are and pushing the envelope."
Brooks said Smart has helped develop his leadership skills and his play on the court.
"(Smart is) just putting me out in front and telling me to be a leader," Brooks said. "We're in constant conversation, so it's about getting the reps in and being more comfortable."
The Kings hope Brooks can help space the floor with his perimeter shooting and help improve the defense with his ability to pressure opposing point guards.
Brooks showed flashes of both in Monday's victory.
"You've just got to be one-on-one with the coach and know exactly what he wants," Brooks said. "And you've got to be in your position most of the time. It's going to take awhile to learn the offense, but I'm pretty good at that. But directing people is something I'm striving to do."
Brooks' best season was 2009-10, when he averaged career highs of 19.6 points and 5.3 assists for Houston. But his production fell off the following season in part because of a badly sprained left ankle, and Houston traded him to Phoenix.
Last season, he played in China during the NBA lockout.
Smart said Brooks needs time to readjust to the NBA.
"Sometimes when you go overseas you try to saturate yourself back into the (NBA) game and playing NBA players, and it's not the same," Smart said. "It's going to take a little bit of time. I've shared that with him that I'm going to push him faster to get that pace.
"And he said, 'Coach, just keep pushing me. I know some days I'm not going to like it.' But by February or sooner he's going to be back to where he was, which is a plus for our team."