Kings notes: Fredette could play more despite struggling on defense

11/11/2013 12:00 AM

02/26/2014 6:05 PM

Jimmer Fredette has heard for years about his defensive deficiencies and how they should keep him off the court in the NBA.

Although the Kings have defended poorly in most games to start the season, that might not be enough to keep the guard off the court.

He played the entire fourth quarter of Saturday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers as the Kings recorded four steals in an attempt to rally.

With first-year Kings coach Michael Malone promising lineup changes, Fredette could find more playing time, even though Malone stresses defense over offense.

Fredette had solid moments on both ends of the floor during the preseason but has been behind Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore in the rotation.

Fredette simply wants an opportunity to show he can hold up defensively.

"I hear about it all the time, but sometimes you have to get it off your back, and that's why you have to go out and show you can play defense," he said.

When Fredette plays, teams will test him defensively. Portland isolated him when it could.

"I thought I played fairly well defensively and had a couple of steals there at the end of the game," Fredette said. "You just try to keep the guy in front and do the best you can."

And if Fredette can boost the Kings' struggling offense, Malone might accept some defensive problems as long as Fredette plays hard.

The Kings are 39 for 129 (30.2 percent) on 3-point attempts this season. Fredette, who might be the team's best pure shooter, hasn't attempted one largely because of limited playing time.

Fredette shot 41.7 percent on 3s last season. If he can be a threat from behind the arc, it will create space for center DeMarcus Cousins and the rest of the Kings.

Also waiting – Forward Luc Mbah a Moute sat out the preseason with a sore right knee but has said since then he is healthy and ready to play.

Mbah a Moute was surprised Saturday when Malone called his name to enter the game during the first quarter.

"I didn't even know I was going to play," Mbah a Moute said. "I hadn't played, so I wasn't expecting to play."

Mbah a Moute, noted for his defensive prowess, said, "It's tough to see us struggling defensively and losing games" but can't help if he's watching.

Malone has wanted to see Mbah a Moute practice well consistently before increasing his playing time.

Mbah a Moute played in one of the first five games.

"I can only control what I can, and that's go out there, play hard and do my best," he said. "I'm hoping to continue doing that for this team and hoping to contribute and change the culture for this team. That way, I can get more minutes."

Shooting woes – Defense has been an issue, but the Kings are getting little offensive production from three players who have started the first six games.

Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Marcus Thornton have combined to shoot 45 of 139 (32.4 percent).

They are 15 of 61 (24.6 percent) on 3-point tries.

Only Cousins and Greivis Vasquez are shooting above 45 percent from the field among the starters.

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

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