Perspective is an important part of how Kings rookie forward Justin Jackson has kept his confidence during his rookie season.
Some nights, he doesn't get a lot shots, or even a lot of minutes. But Jackson doesn't fret.
"For me I'm in a great profession, I've got a great job and God has blessed me with a lot of good things," Jackson said after the Kings' 97-94 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. "So whether I get three shots or whether I get 11 like I did tonight, for one, I'm thankful that He has placed me here. Having that mindset just makes you really put yourself aside and that's kind of what I do."
Jackson played a career-high 42 minutes, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. The rebounds and assists matched his career highs.
Jackson had been in a shooting slump. He'd scored in double figures just once in his previous five games since putting up a career-high 20 points in a win over Atlanta March 22.
Jackson was shooting 11 of 36 in his previous five games, but connected on 7 of 11 against the Suns.
The key for Jackson is maintaining a level head and figuring out how to contribute when he's not scoring and doing what is in the "best interest of the team."
"So if it's defensively and I don't touch the ball for seven minutes that's OK," Jackson said. "If it's I'm getting shots, I'm going to try to knock them down the best I can. So just trying to keep that mindset because when you start acting selfish that's when it all blows up in your face."
With Skal Labissiere out with a sprained left ankle, Jackson started at power forward, which made him put an emphasis on attacking the glass for rebounds.
That's less of a focus when he plays small forward because he's on the perimeter more and will have to worry about getting back in transition defense instead of fighting bigs around the rim for the ball.
Kings coach Dave Joerger has said its good when Jackson attacks decisively on offense, and he did that against the Suns, which helped set up his passing.
"Playing the four I knew I had to try to rebound ... today I think that's kind of where the boards came," Jackson said "With the assists-wise, I think it was me trying to be aggressive when I got the ball. Not necessarily just passing it off and just trying to be aggressive. And then guys hit shots whenever i passed it to them so half of the credit goes to my teammates for sure."
Jackson said the difference for him on offense was that he simply made shots.
"You're going to have those (bad shooting) nights," Jackson said. "Obviously somebody that might not take as many shots, if he misses all of his shots, it's going to look a little bit worse. But I just didn't knock down the shots before and this game it just felt good and I think my teammates did a really good job of finding me whenever I was open."
Jackson's last miss was a 3 with 0.4 seconds to play that would have tied the score as the Kings tried to force overtime after trailing 94-83 with 3:19 to play.
"I got a good look," Jackson said. "Honestly I kind of rushed it a little bit, but I just missed it."
With the win, the Suns (20-59) ended a franchise-worst 15-game losing streak. Rookie forward Josh Jackson led the Suns with 28 points.
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings (25-54) with 22 points.
Before the game, Joerger said the Kings' goal was to win all their games to close the season, coming off a win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Even with the loss, Joerger liked the effort.
"We had a fighting chance there at the end," Joerger said. "We had a good look and that was a good experience for these guys to be in."