The process of making Travis Outlaw a contributor began last season when Marcus Thornton was injured at the end of last season.
Coach Keith Smart could have gone several ways with his starting lineup but opted to use Outlaw at small forward in the final weeks. Smart wanted to give Outlaw a good feeling going into the offseason after two disappointing seasons.
Now Smart believes Outlaw is ready to help the Kings.
"It gave him some data and some things to work on this summer," Smart said. "And he came into camp and did a good job. And in some of the preseason games he played in, I was pretty happy with that."
Smart wanted to give Outlaw more confidence because he believes Outlaw's stature (6-foot-9, 207 pounds) and athletic ability could be key to improving the NBA's worst defense from the 2011-12 season.
Smart would like to be able to use Outlaw against athletic power forwards and big small forwards.
"Right now, it's about getting chemistry on the team," Outlaw said. "We've already got scorers, so I'm going to have to try and bring defense to the team."
It wasn't too long ago that Outlaw was a clutch player for Portland. He averaged double-digit scoring in consecutive seasons before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2010.
Outlaw signed with New Jersey after the 2010 season but failed to make an impact and was released as the Nets' amnesty player in 2011.
The Kings claimed Outlaw, but he came to Sacramento recovering from a broken hand he injured while working out during the NBA lockout.
Smart said the injury and playing on three teams in a year's span affected Outlaw. Outlaw averaged 4.3 points for the Kings, his lowest total since he was a rookie out of high school for Portland in 2003-04.
His 34.3 percent field-goal percentage was a career low.
Outlaw was supposed to help improve the Kings' three-point shooting, but he made just 26.7 percent from three-point range last season.
But the Kings aren't a new team this season and his hand is fine, so Outlaw is feeling better and is optimistic.
"I'm getting more and more playing time," Outlaw said, noting that he's becoming more aggressive on the court. "I can feel my rhythm coming back."
As the Kings have tried to add aspects of the triangle and motion offenses, Smart said Outlaw has taken to it well because he's comfortable shooting from the perimeter and also likes to cut the basket.
"I think you have to go to him when he's on the floor," Smart said. "It's about him taking his open shots, making his open shots and being aware from a defensive standpoint because I'm going to use him more in that role than I will in any other roles."
Almost over The Kings were off Tuesday after playing back-to-back preseason games. The team will practice today before traveling to San Diego for the exhibition-season finale against the Los Angles Lakers.
Smart plans to start the game with the starting lineup he will use in the regular-season opener next Wednesday in Chicago.
The Kings have used five starting lineups in six preseason games. Only center DeMarcus Cousins has started every preseason game.