The Kings have been struggling, so a change was needed.
And it was forward Jason Thompson who watched that change.
Thompson, the only Kings player to appear in every game this season, was benched and didn’t play at all in Wednesday’s 106-84 loss to the Boston Celtics.
Ryan Hollins started in Thompson’s place.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
“The non-starting part doesn’t (bother me) too much, because it’s not how you start but how you finish,” Thompson said. “But to not play, especially in a blowout, too, isn’t something I didn’t think I’d be happy with, but it’s also something where you’ve got to look within, too.”
Though he had started all 31 games, Thompson’s playing time has dropped recently, averaging just 14 minutes over the last three games.
Before the season, general manager Pete D’Alessandro mentioned the possibility of playing center DeMarcus Cousins and Hollins together to give the Kings a shot-blocker with Cousins. Cousins, however, had been solid defensively and Thompson was praised for his defense, so that lineup never became a constant.
“We need to change something,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “It didn’t work early in the game. They were still spacing the floor and hitting some shots. I thought we’d be longer, and on the offensive end (Hollins would) give us somebody who could drive to the basket. We needed to get some attacks there. That didn’t work, either.”
Corbin said the flow of the game dictated not playing Thompson. And, as the game got out of hand, “I just didn’t want to throw him in there at the end.”
Thompson has been the subject of trade rumors for several seasons and has been in and out of the starting lineup.
Wednesday’s benching, however, was a surprise.
“I’m obviously not happy,” Thompson said. “I’m obviously frustrated, not with just today but the whole season.”
Still, Thompson said he’s not going to assume he won’t play at all the rest of the season.
“I don’t think I’m going to look at this as anything (major),” Thompson said. “Only thing I can do is control what I can control and that’s all I can pretty much say in a good manner.”
Weak East? – The Kings got off to a good start this season playing mostly against teams from the Western Conference, where it could take at least 50 wins to make the playoffs.
But the Eastern Conference has not been good to the Kings. After losing to Brooklyn and Boston to start this trip, the Kings are 3-6 against the East.
Still out – Ramon Sessions (lower back strain) missed his fourth consecutive game, Eric Moreland (left shoulder labral tear) was unavailable for a second game.
Former Kings guard Marcus Thornton (calf) missed his eighth straight game for Boston.