Kings Blog

George Karl impressed with Rudy Gay’s work at power forward

Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) is fouled as he takes a rebound away from Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) in the fourth quarter on Friday night, March 20, 2015 in the NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Hornets at Sleep Train Arena.
Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) is fouled as he takes a rebound away from Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) in the fourth quarter on Friday night, March 20, 2015 in the NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Hornets at Sleep Train Arena. jvillegas@sacbee.com

For one night, the Rudy Gay at power forward experiment was put on hold.

Gay slid back to small forward Monday when the Kings played the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. It was a move to match up with the Grizzlies’ big front line that features Marc Gasol at center and Zach Randolph at power forward.

Gay was averaging 22.4 points in his previous five games. In four of those games, Gay was listed as the starting power forward. He averaged 19.8 points (41.3 percent shooting), 5.3 rebounds and three assists in those games.

“The four (power forward) experiment, I thought went pretty good,” said Kings coach George Karl.

And there are more experiments to come.

Karl said he’s not done figuring out new ways to use Gay. Karl believes Gay can play in multiple spots and impact the game.

Gay entered Monday averaging 23.3 points in 18 games under Karl, 3.3 more points than he was averaging before the coach arrived. He’s shooting 47.2 percent under Karl.

“He’s covered the point guard,” Karl said. “In the L.A. (Clippers) game, he covered Chris Paul down the stretch, I think he can play one, two, three, four on both ends of the floor at a fairly competent rate. We’ve still got a lot of growth together but I like his versatility at both ends of the court.”

There’s also a chance we could see less of that versatility as the season winds down.

Karl said Sunday he’d thought about sitting Gay a game or two before the end of the season to give him some rest.

Gay, however, would prefer to keep playing and try to win as many games as possible to finish the season.

The two have reached a compromise on how to handle the rest of the season.

“I talked to him (Monday) morning and I think he would be more into cutting his minutes rather than sitting him,” Karl said. “He likes to play and I might go to him in a certain game and say ‘hey this one you’re only going to play 25 and let some of the younger guys go.’ ”

Karl would not have been upset if Gay wanted to rest. DeMarcus Cousins sat out against the Grizzlies.

“ I gave (Rudy) the option of talking me into sitting a game or two and right now mentally he would like to finish up the season playing,” Karl said.

Top of the list – With Steve Nash announcing his retirement, Kings guard Andre Miller became the NBA’s active leader in assists.

Miller entered Monday with 8,401 assists. Paul was second with 6,861.

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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