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Mike Malone working to mold Isaiah Thomas into starting point guard

Jan 1, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Utah at Sacramento Getty Images

Before Greivis Vasquez was moved in the Rudy Gay trade, Isaiah Thomas was an early top candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award. He was exactly what you want in a sixth man — he came in and changed the tempo of the game, he was a fearless scorer who would attack, knock down threes and was still dishing out assists.

However a starting point guard has a different role, different responsibilities — setting up teammates, calling plays — and that is the role Thomas has been in the last dozen games.

Coach Mike Malone is working closely with Thomas and they are developing a synergy on how to do the things a starting point guard must — and you can see the maturation on the court. Malone and Thomas talked about it with the Sacramento Bee.

“Isaiah’s got to be an extension of me on the court,” Malone said. “He’s got to make sure he’s getting guys looks, know what plays to call, now what matchups he’s going to exploit and how to get those guys going where they’re most effective, and that’s part of his maturation of going from being a scoring guard off the bench to being a playmaking guard.”

After Sunday’s loss at San Antonio, Thomas said the Kings needed to be less predictable on offense. That was the case late in their 110-106 win over Houston on Tuesday.

“We just gave them different looks,” Thomas said. “We can’t go with the same thing each and every time. … (Tuesday) we got stops and gave them different looks.”

Thomas’ numbers are strong as a starter, in his last 10 games he has averaged 21 points and 7.5 assists a game, with a strong true shooting percentage of 58.8 percent.

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But it is his growth doing the little things that can really get the Kings winning more games. Like beating the Rockets.

  1. stayhigh_247 - Jan 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Coach Malone can you please call LA and tell Damphony that coaches need to form relationships with their players and not give them the silent treatment, oh and if you could give him some defensive tips that would be awesome.

  2. norcalkingsfan - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Considering how well Isaiah is starting to play like a true point, Malone has a nice lump of clay to mold. The guy is averaging over 8 assists since taking over the starting job. Being able to absolutely murder any defender in front of him is only going to help him as he climbs the ranks of the upper echelon of point guards. This kid is the real thing.

    I haven’t bought a kings jersey since Mike Bibby, Doug Christie, Webber, etc…. Bought a #22 at the end of last season and haven’t looked back.

    Heart over height.

    • norcalkingsfan - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      Btw, last night in houston, while Demarcus was showing Dwight Howard who the best center in the league is, he dropped ten dimes and had zero TO’s in an impressive win.

      Good time to jump on the kings bandwagon.

      • raycharlesj - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        Come on man lets not get too excited over one game and a 10 win 20 loss record!!! just yet.

      • money2long - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        isaiah thomas is actually pretty good. very good.

      • theromeo2k - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:22 AM

        Hahaha #Realtalk though

  3. norcalkingsfan - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    @raycharlesj

    The losing culture (aka maloof stench) is going out the door, but it doesn’t take one day. The new ownership didn’t come till June. Malone had a late start, with pretty much no training camp. These guys are learning, on the fly, what it takes to win in the NBA. The roster has already changed dramatically, once in the beginning of the season, and once again with the Gay trade. It takes a while to learn cohesive. We just beat the heat, the rockets at home and away, and played 46 great minutes against the spurs on the road.

    No, their record is nothing to get excited over; the front office, Mike Malone’s coaching, Demarcus’ turnaround, the Gay acquisition, and the emergence of Isaiah are though.

    Look deeper raycharles, don’t let the record “blind you.”
    (hehe get it?)

  4. bhunter1995 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Isaiah Thomas is a beast, he doesn’t get a lot of media hype because of the team he plays on but night in night out he plays like a top ten point guard in the NBA, Cousins is slowly making a believer out of me, he needs to work on his defense, but offensively he is the best center in the NBA right now, he isn’t as good as D12, or Marc Gasol on the defensive end but his PPG speaks for itself when you are talking offensive game. The problems with the Kings is their defense and their rebounding, Carl Landry will give them a big boost of scoring off of the bench when he comes back from his injury but he is no defensive stopper and he doesn’t help out much in terms of the rebounding problems of the Kings either as he is a generous 6’9. The Kings need to get some solid defensive players and some rebounders, build around Cousins, Thomas and Gay, and this team can be a contender in a couple of years if Cousins and Thomas continue to develop.

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