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  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Aaron Brooks joined the Kings after playing in China last season.

  • Aaron Brooks The fifth-year vet has playoff experience.

  • Isaiah Thomas He joins the coaches for film sessions.

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Kings point guards Thomas, Brooks are in this together

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 - 12:09 am

It didn't take long last season to realize Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas had dynamic leadership qualities.

So what happened when the Kings signed veteran point guard Aaron Brooks?

Thomas kept on leading. Brooks didn't step on any toes upon his arrival, and the Kings added depth at a position they had been looking to solidify for some time.

Entering Wednesday's season opener in Chicago, Brooks and Thomas are working together in a close duel for the starting job.

Thomas appears to have held onto the starting job, and that's fine with Brooks.

"There's a lot of minutes out there," Brooks said. "And I think the fact that you have somebody you can lean on, point guards who can actually play the position, you can go out there and exert yourself a little bit more. Between us and Jimmer (Fredette) and Tyreke (Evans) sparingly, we'll get the job done."

Kings coach Keith Smart, a former point guard, understands the demands of the position.

Smart said he tries not to be too hard on his point guards but tests them to make sure they understand the flow of the entire game and when to get teammates involved.

"I treat them like a quarterback," Smart said. "If a quarterback throws an interception and the receiver ran the wrong route, it's probably going to be blamed on him. My focus with them is to get the team organized, lead the team."

Thomas and Brooks weren't strangers. Thomas starred at Washington in Seattle, Brooks' birthplace.

"I've known Aaron for a while, so it's easy for me to ask him little things," Thomas said.

That includes how to deal with the defensive schemes the Bulls are likely to throw at the Kings and how to manage the game.

When the Kings drafted Thomas and Fredette in 2011, they traded Beno Udrih, the only experienced point guard.

Evans was starting at point guard before Thomas took over, but as a third-year player, Evans had plenty to learn, too.

Brooks is in his fifth season, which doesn't include playing in China last season. Brooks, a first-round pick by Houston in 2007 out of Oregon, also has significant playoff experience.

"The partnership they had already coming into camp, that's the only way it's working right now," Smart said. "Neither one of them is in competition with each other; they're in competition (with) the game. … How can they both get better?"

Brooks said knowing Thomas before signing with the Kings didn't change his approach. He planned to be a team-first player.

"It don't matter who it is – I'm a friendly guy," Brooks said. "I don't think I'd do anything malicious. I'm a vet. I feel like it's a long season and you need two good point guards to win, and we plan on winning."

Thomas remains studious about the game, too. Before his rookie season, he studied film of his future teammates to be better prepared.

He also has joined in on film review with the coaching staff for more insight. It helps that Smart knows the position inside out.

"It's good," Thomas said. "Sometimes, I feel like he's telling me too much. But at the same time, he's just trying to help me become the best possible player I can be."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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