Isaiah Thomas’ hot start to the season is no surprise, considering he was one of the Kings’ best players in the preseason.
That made the decision to start Greivis Vasquez, who admittedly is still finding his way back from offseason ankle surgery, at point guard on Friday night a tricky one. But coach Michael Malone stuck with the plan to start Vasquez against the Detroit Pistons at Sleep Train Arena.
“Isaiah played terrific in the preseason, and if you look at it just head-to-head, he was a better player in the preseason than Greivis Vasquez,” Malone said. “I just felt for our team, for Greivis’ confidence, (it was best) to get him going while he’s still loose and let Isaiah come in and be that sparkplug off the bench and give us that much-needed lift, as he’s done.”
Thomas scored in double figures in the first seven games entering Friday. That matched Spud Webb for the third-longest streak by a Kings reserve to start the season.
Vasquez had his best game as a King on Wednesday with 17 points and 12 assists. Thomas had 19 points and six assists off the bench.
Malone said he still plans to play Thomas and Vasquez together more.
Center DeMarcus Cousins and guards Thomas and Vasquez represent the Kings on the Western Conference ballot.
The candidates were picked by Greg Anthony of NBA Digital, Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Professional Basketball Writers Association, Zach Lowe of Grantland.com and John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The NBA no longer uses the center position as an option for voters, which might hurt Cousins’ chances. Fans can vote for three “frontcourt” players and two guards.
Cousins entered Friday leading all centers at 22.3 points per game.
Jennings had questioned how Smith’s brother, Chris, is on the Knicks while former Kings guards Bobby Brown and Pooh Jeter are playing in China.
All involved tweeted that there’s no major issue.