Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 28, 2012
Kings vs. Jazz: Salmons available tonight

Forward John Salmons, who missed the Kings' last two games with a sore right hip, is expected to be available tonight against the Utah Jazz, said head coach Keith Smart.

Salmons came off the bench in the two games prior to the injury as Isaiah Thomas started at point guard and Tyreke Evans at small forward.

Smart said Salmons "wants to do what is necessary" for the team.

"I'm sure any pro or any guy who knows he hasn't been playing a certain way, or the way he wanted to play, and I wanted to try something different -- he was OK with it," Smart said. "But you still want to be on the floor. My thing is still to get him on the floor and put him in positive situations."

Smart said he has told Salmons he wants to "feature (Salmons) a little bit and let him be a playmaker a little bit" when Salmons is on the floor.

To that end, Smart said he tried having Salmons initiate the offense more during recent practices. He did so when the Kings practiced in Miami last week before playing the Heat and again yesterday in their first practice after the All Star break.

"He did some work at practice and looked very comfortable there," Smart said. "Just something that can get him to where he's not just standing in the corner, but he can be a kind of facilitator.

"I've run plays in games where he had to be the guy to make the decision for a pick and roll or something like that, so he's shown that he can do those things," Smart said. "He's a versatile guy. He and Tyreke are versatile players that have ballhandling skills and size, and we have some small guards. So that can take some pressure off our smaller guards from time to time if that can work."

Salmons has struggled offensively this season, averaging seven points a game while shooting 36.1 percent from the field, though Smart still values his defense. He is also averaging 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

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