JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS / jvillegas@sacbee.com

Kings reserve guard Jimmer Fredette hasn't played in the past two games and was the only active player not to see time in Monday's loss at New Orleans.

Kings notes: Healthy roster – less Fredette

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 - 6:18 pm

With all of the Kings healthy again, the logjam at the wing positions has returned.

The player who's paid the price with less playing time has been Jimmer Fredette. The second-year guard hasn't played in the past two games and was the only active player not to see time in Monday's loss at New Orleans.

Fredette has been productive when given extended playing time this season. Entering tonight's game, he is ninth in the league in three-point percentage (43 percent).

Fredette is also 16th in the NBA in points per 48 minutes (26.8). Still, it hasn't been enough to get him into games lately.

"Unfortunately, sometimes a guy that may be playing well or (his) numbers may be looking well, but overall the situations that particular game might dictate something (different)," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "No matter which one I play extended minutes, guys are going to be left out."

Fredette finds himself behind Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks at point guard and Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton at shooting guard.

Smart said when one of the starters plays well, it cuts into the minutes of the reserves. The coach is also trying to shorten his rotation.

"I have three point guards," Smart said. "I have three off guards and four small forwards. It's going to be hard to get everybody adequate minutes, shots and things like that."

Smart said it's not easy to leave Fredette out of the rotation.

"Game situations dictate (substitutions) sometimes and it's hard," Smart said. "Sometimes guys are going to be left out, sometimes it was (Fredette). Sometimes it might be another guy. It's hard when you're managing that many wing players, perimeter players. It's going to be difficult."

The Kings host the Phoenix Suns tonight. When the Kings played in Phoenix on Dec. 17, Fredette scored a season-high 22 points in 22 minutes.

Coaching debut – Tonight's game will be the first for Phoenix interim head coach Lindsey Hunter.

Hunter was named interim coach Sunday, two days after the Suns and coach Alvin Gentry agreed to part ways.

Smart said his focus would remain on the Kings and not on guessing what Hunter might try differently.

"Not a whole lot that you will change when you take over a team like that," Smart said. "You only have a couple of days to try and prepare, so you can't go too far from what they've been doing already."

But it appears Hunter is already encountering drama.

Yahoo! Sports reported that veteran center Jermaine O'Neal had a heated exchange with general manager Lance Blanks on Monday.

The Arizona Republic later reported that O'Neal missed Tuesday's practice with an "unstated medical issue" and did not make the trip to Sacramento.

Grading out – Asked what grade he'd give the Kings now that half of the season is over, Thomas said, "Probably a D, a C-minus."

Thomas said inconsistency has been the Kings' biggest problem.

"We'll go through stretches of games where we'll play good defense, and then we'll go through stretches of games where it's like we're not even working on it," Thomas said. "We're just inconsistent."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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