HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Former Rocket Patrick Patterson, receiving congratulations from Chuck Hayes, has helped the Kings with his shooting range.

Kings get lift from trade with Rockets

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Apr. 3, 2013 - 5:37 pm

Compared to recent seasons, the 2013 NBA trade deadline was a dud. No big deadline deals were made as contenders were content to make a run at a championship with their current rosters.

That made the Kings' Feb. 20 trade – a day before the deadline – big news.

The Kings sent Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich and $1 million.

The Kings, who face the Rockets tonight for the first time since the trade, have benefited from the new players as they try to finish the season on a positive note.

"All the guys that came in, their personalities fit what you wanted and what a coach wanted," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "It had nothing to do with the guys that weren't here. It was just that our team needed something different."

While the Kings' 8-11 record since the deal is not something most teams would brag about, the .421 winning percentage is better than their .365 overall percentage this season. And the Kings were 7-8 in March, their best record for that month since 2008.

Patterson's shooting range extends beyond the three-point line. Douglas is a defender who can pressure opposing point guards. And Aldrich is a big body who adds depth and defense.

"Each guy brought something to the team that we didn't have before," Smart said.

But that didn't mean Smart thought the trade would make the Kings shoot better (47.9 percent overall, 40 percent on three-pointers since the deal) or the three players would fit in so well.

After all, they were coming from a team in playoff contention to a team near the bottom of the standings. Also, Patterson had been a starter but would be a reserve in Sacramento.

"Coming from a team that's probably going to make the playoffs to a team that's not, it's kind of tough," Douglas said. "But it is what it is. It's business."

All three stepped in and assumed a role on the team and quickly saw defense needed to be a focus.

The Kings still are far from a lockdown team, but in the eight wins since the trade, they've held opponents to 43.2 percent shooting and 96.9 points per game.

They've also added the maturity that Garcia, who was the longest-tenured Kings player, took with him to Houston.

"Being on a team, it's not all about scoring points and stats," Douglas said. "Good teams have good role players. Everybody can't be the All-Star on the team. You've got to have good rebounders, you've got to have good defensive players, you've got to have people who can score the ball."

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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