Long before Garrett Temple played in the NBA, his father, Collis, made sure he would be a versatile basketball player.
That meant learning to run a team as a point guard.
“Since I was young, I’ve been playing everywhere on the perimeter,” Temple said. “My dad made it a point for me to play a lot of point guard when I was young, because I would grow (taller). But if you learn it, at the end of the day you basically have to learn every position if you’re the point guard.”
That’s why Temple, who is 6-foot-6, played point guard in high school, even though he said he was his team’s second-tallest player.
The Kings plan to make good use of Temple’s talent, playing him at point guard, along with shooting guard and small forward.
Collis Temple, the first African American basketball player in LSU history, knew what he was doing. His son has parlayed his versatility into an NBA career after playing at LSU.
“If you teach me the point and that leadership mentality, it would be a whole lot easier to go to other positions,” Temple said. “Rather than being a two (shooting guard) or three (small forward) growing up and going to the point when you’re older.”
I don’t even give Garrett a position. He’s just a hard-nosed worker. Anything you ask him to do, he’s going to do it. He’s doing the dirty work. He’s doing whatever is needed for the team and you can’t help but to appreciate guys like that.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings center, on Garrett Temple
With point guard Darren Collison suspended for the first eight games of the regular season, coach Dave Joerger said Temple will fill an important role as Ty Lawson’s backup at the point. As the season progresses, Joerger said he could use Temple to run the team even with a point guard on the floor, more so Collison than Lawson, to free them up to attack on offense.
Temple’s skills impress his teammates and Joerger.
“I don’t even give Garrett a position,” center DeMarcus Cousins said. “He’s just a hard-nosed worker. Anything you ask him to do, he’s going to do it. He’s doing the dirty work. He’s doing whatever is needed for the team and you can’t help but to appreciate guys like that.”
In the Kings’ preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday at Honda Center, Temple entered at small forward in the second quarter.
Since I was young, I’ve been playing everywhere on the perimeter. My dad made it a point for me to play a lot of point guard when I was young because I would grow (taller). But if you learn it, at the end of the day you basically have to learn every position if you’re the point guard.
Garrett Temple, Kings swingman
Temple is comfortable with Joerger’s offense because it resembles one of the first he played in as a pro. He spent part of his rookie season with the Houston Rockets under former Kings coach Rick Adelman and assistant coach Elston Turner, now Joerger’s lead assistant.
“I think it highlights what smart basketball players do and big men especially,” Temple said of Joerger’s strategy. “If you have a big who can pass the ball and has a really nice skill set like we do in DeMarcus, him having the ball at the high post a lot, with a lot of moving parts and not just watching, I think it’s going to benefit our whole team.”
Temple, 30, signed a three-year, $24 million contract in the offseason after his best season as a pro with the Washington Wizards. He posted career highs in games (80), starts (43), points (7.3 per game) and minutes (24.4 per game).
Temple said Joerger’s system suits his style and the principles instilled in him as a 10-year-old, when his father began teaching him how to play point guard.
“Joerger likes point guards to be pretty vocal and I’m by nature pretty vocal, so it’s been good,” Temple said. “I’ve run a semblance of this system before, so I understand the cuts and the through reads and things like that.”