PHILADELPHIA -- Kings coach Michael Malone described forward Jason Thompson’s season as “frustrating.”
Thompson said that’s a nice way to describe his sixth season with the Kings.
“That might not even be to the extreme of how I feel,” Thompson said. “To say that I’m happy, I probably wouldn’t be telling the truth. Some of the things are out of my control and sometimes you’re put in situations where it’s tough to succeed. But in a way, I’m being the ultimate pro and taking what comes to me every day.”
What’s come to Thompson lately is he’s out of the starting lineup again. He came off the bench for the second consecutive game Wednesday when the Kings played the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.
Thompson began the season as a backup before starting 57 games. Reggie Evans started at power forward Tuesday ahead of Thompson, and Derrick Williams started Wednesday.
Thompson, the subject of trade talk before last month’s trade deadline, is in the second year of a five-year contract he signed under the front office led by Geoff Petrie, who tried to upgrade the power forward position by adding players before rewarding Thompson.
But this isn’t the same Kings team Thompson has known. He has seen many of the players brought in by Petrie dealt this season and has pondered if he might be better off on another team.
“It’s obviously something to look at, but it’s another thing I don’t control,” Thompson said.
Malone, Thompson’s fifth coach in six seasons, understands Thompson’s frustration.
“The reality is he’s been around a lot of losing, and nobody likes to lose,” Malone said.
Malone said benching Thompson wasn’t an indictment of his play. Rather, it was a move to try to invigorate a lineup that had grown stagnant.
Malone acknowledged Thompson has been put in a role that might not be the most glorious.
“Jason is a class act. He’s a hard-working kid,” Malone said. “I think one of the things that makes it tough on him is we’ll put him on the other team’s talented (post) scorer and use him as a defender. And when you have the scorers that we have around him in the starting lineup, his touches probably have not been as consistent as he would like, and I can understand that because he’s out there doing a lot of the dirty work.”
Thompson, who has gone from starter to reserve numerous times, took this change in stride. Coming off the bench might give him more scoring chances.
“I think I would have been a little bit more mad if I was really playing to the caliber I’m capable of and then getting out of (the starting lineup),” Thompson said. “But with the lineups that we have, we have a lot of guys that take a lot of shots, and guys like myself haven’t been taking the amount of shots that I’m used to taking.”
Changes keep coming – The quintet of Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Williams was the Kings’ 16th different starting lineup of the season and the third different starting group in as many games.