Shooting guards are supposed to, well, shoot. Most in the NBA want to shoot a lot.
Arron Afflalo didn’t begin the season fixated on offense. Now, he better change his mindset because the Kings need him to shoot.
Through the first five games, the Kings have fallen into a two-man offense. DeMarcus Cousins shoots. Rudy Gay shoots. Then everyone else waits for their cameo appearance.
If Cousins or Gay are not scoring 20-plus points, the offense needs someone to step up, and Afflalo is as qualified as any King to do that, even if he hasn’t made that a priority in his first season in Sacramento.
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Over the course of my career, I’ve been pretty versatile in terms of being able to space the floor shooting 3s or post up or creating for teammates. So if Cuz is out, Rudy is out or whatever the team needs at this moment, I can always provide.
Arron Afflalo, Kings guard
The 31-year-old Afflalo is averaging 11.6 points in his 10-year career with a season high of 18.2 in 2013-14 with the Orlando Magic.
“The individual stuff hadn’t really crossed my mind, but in the same token, you have to perform,” Afflalo said. “You’re paid to play and perform, so the energy I bring on the offensive end has to step up.”
Coach Dave Joerger often has said he must do a better job of creating shots for other players, especially Afflalo.
The Kings involved Afflalo more in Tuesday’s 108-96 overtime loss to the Miami Heat. He took 17 shots after totaling 25 attempts in the first four games.
“He was trying to be aggressive and we were trying to get him involved early,” Joerger said. “Get him involved in the game.”
The Kings are still getting comfortable with each other on offense. Afflalo admitted to being more aggressive Tuesday, but added he is still feeling out his new teammates.
“I’m not, at this point, too concerned about shot attempts,” Afflalo said. “Obviously there’s different ways you can contribute to the game, but I was told that scoring is needed, so I definitely can be more aggressive.”
Entering Thursday’s game at Orlando, Cousins is averaging 26.8 points and Gay 23.8. The next highest is Afflalo at 9.4.
“We’re a team,” Afflalo said. “Those are our two main guys. That’s the way it’s set up right now for those guys to establish themselves on the offensive end. Guys have got to figure out how to pick their spots.”
Joerger’s challenge is to find times when it makes the most sense to go to Afflalo. It’s hard to use Afflalo’s post skills when the Kings have two big men on the court.
During the third quarter against the Heat, the Kings had a lineup of Ty Lawson, Afflalo, Ben McLemore, Anthony Tolliver and Kosta Koufos, making Afflalo a natural fit to be featured on offense. Afflalo had eight points in the third, making 4 of 6 shots, and was able to post up much more in that lineup.
But Afflalo took only one shot in the fourth quarter and had two attempts in overtime.
11.6 Arron Afflalo’s career scoring average
“Over the course of my career, I’ve been pretty versatile in terms of being able to space the floor shooting 3s or post up or creating for teammates,” Afflalo said. “So if Cuz is out, Rudy is out or whatever the team needs at this moment, I can always provide.”
Farmar returns – The Kings on Wednesday re-signed guard Jordan Farmar, who was waived at the end of training camp.
Sacramento is already at the league-maximum 15 players, including suspended guard Darren Collison. After five games, teams are allowed to place a suspended player on the “suspended list” to create a roster spot for a 16th player.
The Kings will revert to a 15-man roster when Collison becomes eligible to return Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans at Golden 1 Center.