Kings point guard Aaron Brooks wasn't anointing himself the reason for fellow guard Tyreke Evans' recent rhythm on offense.
"I don't think it has nothing to do with me," Brooks said with a shrug before the Kings played the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Entering the game, Evans was averaging 19.3 points over his previous three games, a sizable jump from his season average of 13.5 points. He was efficient from the floor in those games as well, making 52.4 percent of his field-goal attempts (22 of 42).
The uptick in Evans' production, beginning with the Kings' loss to the Brooklyn Nets last Sunday, coincided with Brooks' supplanting Isaiah Thomas in the starting lineup. Head coach Keith Smart said that probably isn't entirely coincidental, as Brooks' speed can sometimes create opportunities for teammates on the offensive end and in transition.
"Aaron puts so much pressure on the defense sometimes when he turns the corner that the defense sucks in, and Tyreke has a jump shot or (space to) drive it," Smart said.
Independent of his pairing in the backcourt with Brooks, though, Smart said that Evans has also benefited from being more aggressive on the offensive end.
Evans' 17 shots in the Kings' loss to the Jazz on Friday night were his highest total of the season, though he played just 31 minutes. It was the third consecutive game he scored at least 18 points, something he had done once in nine games before that.
"I think Tyreke has done a better job of not settling for the jump shot attacking the basket, shooting some spot-up shots," Smart said.
Smart recently gave each Kings player his shooting statistics broken down by areas of the court and urged each to go toward their strengths.
For Evans, that means getting under the basket when possible.
According to NBA.com, Evans had made 56.2 percent of his attempts in the restricted area prior to Saturday's game.
Brooks said he thinks the difference recently is that Evans has "just stepped up his game and been playing better" nothing in connection with their being paired in the backcourt.
"There's no magic at 3-9, man," Brooks said. "You feel me?"
Add Salmons Another change in the last three games has been the insertion of forward John Salmons into the starting lineup a move that, according to one statistic, has been beneficial to everybody.
Salmons owned the Kings' highest plus/minus ratio prior to Saturday at plus-36. Smart has said in the past that he lends credence to the ratio, which says the Kings have outscored opponents with Salmons on the floor, but said Saturday that Salmons' effect has been more intangible.
"He's moving up the chart defensive-grade-wise because he understands where to be, when to be there," Smart said.
Et cetera Smart said Thomas did not get into Friday's game against the Jazz simply because he felt that Jimmer Fredette was playing well.
Thomas checked into Saturday's game with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the second quarter.