When free-agent guard Aaron Brooks signed with the Kings in July, he assumed he would be Sacramento's starting point guard from Day One.
Kings coach Keith Smart, however, saw it differently.
Brooks spent the 2011-12 season in China, and Smart didn't want to rush Brooks into a starting role, preferring to let him readjust to the NBA first.
Now that he's starting, Brooks is the player the Kings thought he would be.
Smart said returning from overseas is difficult.
"(Brooks) alluded to that and said, 'Coach, I'm just not ready, but I'll be OK,' " Smart said. "You can see his game has now caught up with him."
Brooks has started the last seven games, shooting above 60 percent and averaging 9.0 points in those games. He also has made 50 percent of his three-point attempts as a starter. As a reserve, Brooks shot 37.1 percent.
"I knew what he could do, and I've seen guys come back from overseas and they're not the same guy right away," Smart said. "And Aaron wasn't the same guy right away. So I understood that."
Watching his own yard The NBA fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for coach Gregg Popovich's decision to send four key players home to rest instead of playing them in Thursday's game at Miami that was nationally televised on TNT. The Spurs lost to the defending NBA champions 105-100.
"I'm going to keep my house clean and worry about my house," Smart said. "I'm not going to worry about the trash can that's sitting out in somebody else's yard."
Smart said coaches need to have the pulse of their team and that he can't afford to rest players because of schedule considerations.
The Spurs are an NBA power, while the struggling Kings need to do all they can to win.
"I can understand how the fans are, but a coach understands there may be a fatigue factor or something going on," Smart said. "But you can only focus on what you do because that's what's important for you that particular night."
"I'm not going to worry about the trash can that's sitting out in somebody else's yard."
KEITH SMART, reacting to the NBA's fine of the San Antonio Spurs
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