Kings Blog

George Karl experiments with Rudy Gay at power forward

Rudy Gay, left, plays small forward for the Kings but could spend some time as the team’s power forward. Regardless of position, Gay has played well lately, averaging 25.4 points in his last 10 games.
Rudy Gay, left, plays small forward for the Kings but could spend some time as the team’s power forward. Regardless of position, Gay has played well lately, averaging 25.4 points in his last 10 games. The Associated Press

Rudy Gay has been asked to play power forward in the NBA before.

Last time, he began the 2013-14 season with Toronto planning to be a “stretch four” for the Raptors.

Gay bulked up, but the extra weightlifting did him more harm than good. Gay would be traded to the Kings that season and return to his natural small-forward spot.

Training his body to play power forward for Sacramento has yet to enter the conversation, but coach George Karl is experimenting with Gay playing the position more as the season closes.

Gay scored 33 points in Friday’s win over Charlotte as Karl continues to try new strategies. Karl liked what he saw from Gay against the Hornets.

“We never got the big-little matchup that we’re hoping to get sometimes, but I just thought he was really into the game from the very beginning, made some shots, got some easy baskets,” Karl said. “We started off, he made a three. I actually think he should be shooting more threes.”

Gay also played power forward for Team USA last summer. How that works with the Kings is something Karl wants to figure out before next season.

Gay is big enough to play against some power forwards and would have a quickness advantage against many.

Gay said playing that role for the Kings isn’t too complicated and that he just has to run the same plays from a different spot on the floor.

“I was just being as helpful as I could to my teammates out there,” Gay said. “Obviously it was something that was new to me here, but they helped me out. In return, I tried to help my team out and get them open shots, and I tried to be the best player I could be out there.”

Gay’s recent performances have been some of his most prolific of the season. In his last 10 games, Gay is averaging 25.4 points on 49.2 percent shooting. He’s also averaging 6.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Gay has at least 23 points in seven consecutive games. Gay recently missed two games with a left knee strain, but when he’s on the court, he has been effective.

The Kings needed that from Gay on Friday, as leading-scorer DeMarcus Cousins sat his second game in a row with a right calf strain.

The Kings have also been without Darren Collison, their third-leading scorer, for more than a month.

Cousins is probable for Sunday’s game against the Washington Wizards. He was a game-time decision Friday with his status known less than 90 minutes before tipoff.

The Wizards are coming off a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, but on March 14 they beat the Kings by 16 after trailing by 21 in the third quarter in Washington. Gay missed that game.

“Basketball is a game of contributions,” Karl said. “You can win a lot of different ways, you’ve just got to be ready to contribute.”

Gay is ready to do that, regardless of what position he has to play.

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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