For now, Marcus Thornton will be a well-compensated spectator during games.
Thornton, the Kings’ highest-paid player this season, has gone from starter for six games to out of the rotation with coach Michael Malone’s decision to play Jimmer Fredette as the backup shooting guard.
Thornton, who is owed $8.2 million this season, led the Kings in scoring two seasons ago as a starter. But he didn’t play in the Kings’ wins over Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday as Malone intends to give Fredette a chance to help improve the Kings’ poor shooting.
“Marcus had the great game against Brooklyn (with 24 points),” Malone said. “Other than that, he’s struggled a little bit.”
Thornton is shooting 36.8 percent this season and has made just 28 percent (14 of 50) of his 3-pointers. He is averaging 10.3 points, fourth on the team.
“There really was no conversation,” Thornton said of the change. “I guess it’s just something that happened on the fly. I didn’t know about it. I guess it is what it is.”
Malone has history with Thornton. He was on New Orleans’ staff when Thornton played there before the guard was traded to the Kings.
Thornton, however, said no extra discussion is needed with Malone over the decision.
“He’s the coach,” Thornton said. “He made a decision, so I’m letting him make decisions.”
Malone hopes Fredette’s passing ability will help the offense, along with his shooting.
Fredette is shooting 36.8 percent in four games this season, and Malone expects his shooting will benefit from consistent playing time. Fredette shot 42.1 percent last season, including 41.7 percent on 3-pointers.
“I figured we’re having a really hard time making shots as a team and one of our best shooters is a guy I’m not playing at all,” Malone said. “So I figured rocket science, right? You want to make more shots, put the better shooters in the game.”
After missing most of the preseason with a sore right knee, Mbah a Moute has worked his way into the starting lineup.
“He does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Malone said. “He defends, he has a high IQ and he tries to help some of these younger guys along. I definitely like where he’s at right now and I think he’ll get better as the year goes on.”
The Kings won’t practice today and will practice Friday in Sacramento before back-to-back games in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Saturday and the Lakers on Sunday.