Kings (3-5) at Clippers (1-6)
Scoring: Kings ninth (99.4), Clippers 30th (86.9).
Shooting: Kings second (48.4 percent), Clippers 29th (41).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (106.1), Clippers 25th (101.4).
Shooting defense: Kings 26th (47.2 percent), Clippers tied for 15th (44.2).
Rebound differential: Kings 13th (plus-0.4), Clippers 29th (minus-7.7).
The links: Clippers coverage in the Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles Daily News.
The almanac: On this date in 1994, All-Star ballots were made available in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia, the first time voting extended beyond the United States.
But Tuesday night, with his first pro start at small forward of all places, and tonight, with the possibility of another turn there and the challenge of super-athletic Al Thornton, makes it a relevant discussion: Where will Thompson eventually play?
Small forward against the Pistons was more necessity than ideal choice. No Kevin Martin, no Francisco Garcia, no Quincy Douby. The Kings were low on wings.
The realistic direction remains as before -- power forward is Thompson's natural position and where the bulk of his minutes will come. Along the way, he'll play some small forward, in fewer situations than now, and some center. But he is still the power forward of the future with enviable versatility.
Coach Reggie Theus: "He's a guy that can probably play (small forward) off and on through the course of the season. But you have to know that when Cisco's back and Quincy's back and all these guys are back, unless something is going on, there will be no room for him to play small forward."
Question: Do you feel power forward is going to be his position?
Theus: Absolutely. He's going to be able to play out on the perimeter and he's going to be able inside. So inside-outside. And the biggest thing is that it just depends on what he does defensively. That's the whole thing. If he can guard a (small forward), he can play (small forward). He shoots it well enough. He runs the floor, handles it well enough, passes it well enough, that he can be a multifaceted player."
The big lineup is a fun look, though, a frontcourt that goes 7-0, 7-0, 6-11 with Brad Miller, Mikki Moore and Thompson. It would be the same with 7-footer Spencer Hawes in place of Miller or Moore, both possibilities down the line depending on trades or lineup switches.
It gets really good if Theus someday throws out the bigBigBIGGER lineup: some mix of Miller / Moore / Hawes / Thompson on the frontline, 6-7 Martin at shooting guard, and 6-7 Garcia or 6-6 John Salmons as the primary ballhandler. If the Kings felt like Thompson could not only handle small forward but a quality small forward like Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, and that Thornton won't tear through him tonight, no one would be terribly out of position in the skyscraper scenario.
Going really big like that has been in some corner of the drawing board since the summer, mostly because of Thompson's versatility and as a way to get Hawes and Thompson on the court at the same time. That's still the straightest line to the future. Hawes at center, JT at power forward.