In yet another strange turn of events, the struggling Sacramento Kings have decided to move fourth year power forward Carl Landry to the bench in favor of last year’s starter Jason Thompson. Landry opened the door when he overslept and missed shoot-around before Saturday night’s loss to the Bulls. Thompson took advantage, tallying 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a blocked shot while playing 33 minutes in Landry’s absence. During his first two seasons in the NBA, Thompson had started a total of 114 games for the Kings at either the power forward or center position, and he appeared much more comfortable as a starter than he has off the bench.
Coach Paul Westphal was slightly non-committal yesterday when asked about the situation, but here is what the coach had to say:
I haven’t spoken with those players yet so I don’t want to get too into it, we have another day to talk about it. It certainly looked good (Jason Thompson as a starter) and Carl obviously wasn’t himself last night, I don’t know if it was because of his back of because he never got in the flow of the game but we do know that Carl can produce big time off the bench and I think it’s something we’ll look at real hard.
Jason Thompson has been a good soldier through this entire situation, but his desire to play more has been apparent for some time. During training camp, Thompson was considered one of the stand-outs, coming into camp in great physical shape and making the power forward spot a real competition. But since the season began, Thompson’s minutes have been inconsistent even leading to the first DNP-CD of his career on November 12th against the Phoenix Suns.
Carl Landry had only started one career NBA game before his trade last season to the Kings. Since then, he has manned the starting power forward spot, making 42 starts alongside a myriad of centers including Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes, DeMarcus Cousins and Samuel Dalembert. As a member of the Houston Rockets, Landry was considered a strong candidate for the NBA six man of the year award. Hopefully he will have no trouble transitioning back to that role with the Kings. Here are his thoughts on the subject:
I’m just a player and I just want to win. At the end of the day I just want to win games. I don’t care if I’m playing 5, 10- it doesn’t matter how many minutes I’m playing, I just want to compete. It was really fun the first three quarters of that game. I was up, I was excited, cheering seeing Jason have a great performance and the rest of my teammates. That was fun. Even though I wasn’t playing, it was fun and that’s the kind of basketball we need to have back here- fun basketball.
It has been a very busy day around Arco Arena. First, the announcement that veteran swing man Antoine Wright was waived, followed by the news that there will be yet another starting line-up come Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers. Lastly, the Kings have announced that rookie Hassan Whiteside will be joining the Reno Big Horns of the NBDL which puts the roster down to 12, one below the NBA minimum.
*** Correction. Hassan Whiteside counts as an inactive member of the roster during his stint in the NBDL so the Kings do not have to make a roster move.