Luc Mbah a Moute: Known for his defensive versatility, he expects to log most of his minutes at his natural position, small forward.

Mbah a Moute likes new home with Kings

Published: Sunday, Jul. 14, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 8C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013 - 7:02 pm

LAS VEGAS – Like many NBA observers, Luc Mbah a Moute watched the changes in Sacramento with interest.

Then Tuesday, Mbah a Moute landed in Cameroon and learned he would be a part of those changes because he had been traded to the Kings.

His reaction: "Excited, very excited."

Mbah a Moute attended the Kings' summer league opener against Dallas on Saturday. The trade that brought him from Milwaukee for two second-round draft choices was finalized Friday night.

He spent part of the afternoon speaking with general manager Pete D'Alessandro, coach Michael Malone and other Kings staff.

"I kind of saw from afar a new owner, a new coach, and I saw the moves they were making," Mbah a Moute said. And I was one of the moves that they were making.

"When I found out I was a part of it, I was really excited. I feel like I fit right in. What I bring to the team is something the team needs and values, and I'm looking forward to it."

Mbah a Moute was acquired for his defense. The Kings were bad in most defensive categories last season and allowed a league-worst 105.1 points per game.

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Mbah a Moute is expected to play small forward, adding length on the perimeter defensively.

Mbah a Moute, who averaged 6.7 points last season, said he continues to work on his offense and becoming a player who can make the corner three-pointer. He shot 35.1 percent from beyond the arc last season.

But that's secondary for the Kings. What excites Malone about Mbah a Moute is his defensive versatility.

Mbah a Moute spent plenty of time defending multiple positions in his five seasons with the Bucks.

"I was telling him earlier today when I was in Cleveland and we played Milwaukee, they'd put Luc on (point guard) Mo Williams, and he'd give Mo fits," Malone said. "Mo, he may not admit that right now, but I've seen him guard one (point guards) through four (power forwards).

"Being a versatile defender, he's a valuable guy to have, and he embraces that role. He embraces the opportunity to guard different guys, and he's not going to shy away from that challenge."

Mbah a Moute played power forward at times for the Bucks. The Kings have plenty of options at that position: Jason Thompson, Patrick Patterson and Carl Landry. John Salmons is the incumbent at small forward.

Mbah a Moute said he has no problem being asked to guard bigger players but expects more work as a small forward in Sacramento.

"I've always embraced defense and being a versatile defender, and I always find myself sometimes playing against big forwards at the four," Mbah a Moute said.

"Nowadays the way the game is, teams go small, and you have two fours and no center. I don't really mind what I'm playing as long as I'm out there contributing and doing what I do best, which is play defense.

"I think this year, looking at the roster, I think I'll be more at the three (small forward), which is my natural position."

Mbah a Moute said the Kings team he is joining is noticeably different from the ones he had faced. He noticed the unstable situation with ownership and the often uneven play.

"It looked like a team that wasn't really settled in what they were doing," Mbah a Moute said. "That's the impression I had from afar.

"The whole organization feels like the team has settled down from the owner perspective and guys knowing the team is not moving, and now you can build going forward for the future."

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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