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  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Kings point guard Greivis Vasquez steals the ball from Eric Bledsoe of Phoenix. Vasquez had 10 points, two assists and two steals in 15 minutes.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas takes it to the hoop against Markieff Morris of the Suns on Thursday night.

Jimmer Fredette scores 23 points in his second preseason start

Published: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 - 12:00 pm

Jimmer Fredette has played significant minutes in two preseason games, starting both times.

He's also not played in two games.

When Fredette plays the way he did Thursday night, it's hard to argue against him playing, and playing a lot.

That's something Kings coach Michael Malone will have to figure out after Fredette scored 23 points and dished out five assists in Sacramento's 107-90 exhibition win over the Phoenix Suns at Sleep Train Arena.

Fredette didn't play in the two preseason games started by Marcus Thornton, but started again at shooting guard Thursday next to Greivis Vasquez and played 32 minutes.

Fredette shot 9 for 15, including 5 for 7 from three-point range. He also had two steals and looked comfortable in Malone's defensive scheme.

Fredette also spent time at point guard, initiating the offense for teammates while finding his own shots.

His versatility is something the Kings have to consider when figuring out playing time going forward.

"That's just what I do," Fredette said. "I try to be aggressive and let the game come to me. If someone's open, I'm going to try and hit them or if there's one guy on me and I'm open I'll take the shot. It's all about being aggressive."

Playing time at shooting guard is a three-man competition between Thornton, Fredette and rookie Ben McLemore.

"It's a challenge because all three of them have different skills," Malone said. "Jimmer showcased what he can do (Thursday) with the ball and off the ball. He can shoot it, he can make plays, he has a high basketball IQ."

Thornton, the most experienced player of the trio, played only seven minutes, scoring one point.

McLemore had eight points in 13 minutes.

McLemore is the most athletic of the trio. Thornton is the most proven scorer of the bunch.

"To have three guys like that is a luxury, but the challenge is finding enough minutes for those guys," Malone said. "We'll meet, we'll talk and we'll continue to evaluate that."

Fredette said the message from the coaching staff has been to "be the person that got you to the league."

When Fredette was a prolific scorer at BYU and the consensus National Player of the Year in 2011, he was always on the attack offensively.

After two seasons of inconsistent playing time, Fredette is trying to be that player again. He said if he's not aggressive in practice, the coaching staff lets him know that's not acceptable.

"You've just got to go out and play your game," Fredette said. "I've always tried to do that when I had minutes. And that's what I do, try to make plays and be aggressive offensively and try to score the basketball. And (if) there's someone open, hit them."

One solution to having three guards is playing small. The Kings did some of that Thursday, using McLemore as a small forward, and they could do the same with Thornton in some cases.

"It's going to depend on the matchups, personnel and who we're playing," Malone said. "That'll kind of dictate who is going to be in the game and who is going to get those minutes."

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (3-1) with 29 points and nine rebounds. He sat out the fourth quarter.

Cousins has scored in double figures in the last three preseason games. The Kings have won each of those games.

Vasquez played 15 minutes Thursday in his second game since offseason ankle surgery and added 10 points and two assists.

Markieff Morris led the Suns (3-2) with 15 points and seven rebounds.

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

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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