Kings forward Carl Landry started Monday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks after not playing in the previous two games.
As coach George Karl acquaints himself with his personnel, Landry has seen his role diminish after being a major part of the second unit to begin the season.
Karl started Landry partly to give the second unit a different look.
Not playing when healthy is unfamiliar to Landry.
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“It’s been awhile,” he said of being idle because of the coach’s decision. “Last year, possibly after coming off the injury, but other than that, it’s been a long time.
“Other than that, I’m just happy to be a part of this team, and hopefully, we can have some success to close out the season.”
Landry has played more than 10 minutes just four times in Karl’s 10 games as coach. The eight-year veteran said he will not fret over his minutes.
“I’m a veteran. I don’t need (coaches) to tell me when and when not to be ready to play,” Landry said. “I’m going to be ready, and when given the opportunity, I’m going to do my best to help the team out.”
Landry has started three games for Karl and four overall this season. When Landry starts, Karl puts Jason Thompson with the second unit, which the coach wants to be a fast, running group led by Andre Miller.
Landry said starting does not change his approach.
“No matter if I’m starting or coming off the bench, and that’s been pretty much my whole career, just be ready,” he said. “I’ve started some games over the course of my career, and I’ve come off the bench. Through the course of the years, I’ve been able to do something right to stay in the league. So my job is to stay ready with the rest of my teammates.”
Surprise – The Hawks have the best record in the Eastern Conference and already have clinched a playoff berth.
A big reason is point guard Jeff Teague, who made his first All-Star Game this season.
“Three years ago, I didn’t think Teague would be this good; I’ll admit it,” Karl said. “But the kid now is probably in my top 10.
“He’s really good. And he’s really gotten better at the pick-and-roll game, more so than I thought. And I loved him last year in the playoffs. His character and courage in the playoffs was pretty impressive.”
Be a pro – Karl said he spoke with Darren Collison last week to emphasize the point guard’s need to take seriously his rehabilitation from surgery for a core injury.
“Rehab is important,” Karl said. “Don’t become a lazy rehabber. Become a professional rehabber because this injury is in his core, and it’s a situation where you don’t want it to come back.”
Karl said players who don’t rehab intently risk having their careers cut short by injuries, costing them millions of dollars.
“We’re privileged to get paid Monopoly money to coach and play a game,” Karl said.