Kings notes: Guard spot still requires juggling

Published: Saturday, Mar. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Once again, Keith Smart has to play three players at a position – point guard – when minutes usually dictate there's enough time for consistent play for two.

Smart likes the defensive edge Toney Douglas has brought to the Kings.

Smart liked it so much in Wednesday's loss at Golden State that Douglas played the entire fourth quarter.

But it also meant fewer minutes for starter Isaiah Thomas and no playing time for backup Jimmer Fredette.

Smart was in a similar predicament most of the season with Thomas, Fredette and Aaron Brooks. The Kings waived Brooks last week to leave them with three point guards instead of four.

The first backup to play Friday when the Kings hosted the Phoenix Suns at Sleep Train Arena was Fredette.

"We're still in the same boat where we have three point guards," Smart said. "Each one provides something different, something we need from all of them. But one provides a defensive presence on the ball, and we'll see how that works moving forward."

Smart said Douglas has caught on quickly to what the Kings run on offense and defense since being acquired in a trade with Houston last month.

Then there's the ball pressure that Smart loves from Douglas.

"He does that in practice," Smart said. "He'll try to pick you up in practice, so he brings a different element."

Early effort – Smart said establishing center DeMarcus Cousins early in games is always a priority. That had not changed even though Cousins was just 3 of 22 from the field the previous two games.

Smart, however, still wants to see Cousins hustle more to get into position.

"It's up to him to run the floor, get down to the early post position," Smart said.

Smart cited Suns center Marcin Gortat. He is out with a foot injury, but Smart likes how Gortat runs the floor and forces the defense to account for him.

That can lead to open perimeter shots for teammates.

"The game is simple," Smart said. "You run the floor, take up a position, it's yours. You get to the glass, which I know (Cousins) will, and you have a chance to have a good night."

Smart added it's not just up to Cousins to run the floor.

"That's what Cuz, J.T. (Jason Thompson) and all our guys need to do," Smart said.

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