LOS ANGELES When Derrick Williams was traded to the Kings, it was a chance for the second-overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft to begin reaching the untapped potential after two-plus seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
And it didnt take long for Williams to show off that athleticism in his Kings debut Nov. 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers as he threw down a spectacular dunk.
Each King has a framed photograph above their locker at Sleep Train Arena and Williams dunking over Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin is captured from that night.
Since that game, the Kings acquired Rudy Gay and Williams went from the starting small forward to a backup at both forward spots.
The Kings want to see Williams get back to the player that debuted with the flashy plays on a more consistent basis as they close the season.
Williams was in the starting lineup Friday when the Kings lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, 126-122, Friday night at Staples Center.
Play to his athleticism, be in attack mode and be active on the floor like he did when he first got here, is what Kings coach Michael Malone said he wants from Williams. When Derrick is rebounding, running the floor and attacking the basket he comes a much better player which in turn makes us a much better team.
Williams started because center DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for punching Houston guard Patrick Beverley in the stomach. Williams started at power forward while Jason Thompson moved to center.
The Kings are 0-10 without Cousins this season.
There were plenty of minutes to be played for Williams because power forward Carl Landry also missed the game due to a sore knee.
Williams finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, but that wasnt enough on a night where the Kings defense was indifferent.
The Kings blew a 15-point lead by allowing the Lakers to shoot 60 percent.
The Lakers shot 14 for 18 on three-pointers in the second half and 19 for 27 (70.4 percent) for the game, the highest percentage for a Kings opponent this season.
We defended nobody, Malone said. I am embarrassed by the defensive effort we put forth (Friday).
Williams said Gays addition did initially throw off his game, but hes learned to adjust, especially when they play together as they did against the Lakers.
I think with Rudy were interchangeable on defense so it makes the game easier on us and on offense the same thing, Williams said. He runs the four sometimes when Im supposed to be. Sometimes we get caught off-guard (by switches) but it does cause mismatch problems.
For Williams to continue to play well, he has to remain aggressive on offense and not settle for jump shots.
And it also means not driving to the basket even when the path is not clear.
I think sometimes I got caught doing that, Williams said. Just going in there when there were two or three people but (Malone) wants me to be aggressive. Whenever I have a chance to get to the basket Im going to go. Hes just really looking for me to be aggressive.
Malone wants Williams to post up smaller players and use his 6-foot-8, 240 pound frame to punish them.
But when hes matched up against bigger players, Malone wants to see Williams get to the rim.
Weve all seen it, Malone said. He plays at his best when hes aggressive and hes confident and he gets out and runs the floor and he attacks the basket and plays above the rim. When he settles for jump shots and is not as aggressive he becomes a lot easier to guard.
Considering both squads are among the worst defensive teams in the league, no one was hard to defend.
Jordan Farmar had a career-high 30 points off the bench for the Lakers (20-39). MarShown Brooks had 23 points off the bench.
Gay led the Kings (20-38) with 32 points. Isaiah Thomas added 26.