If anything positive came out of Chuck Hayes' injury last month, it was Jason Thompson finding his game and re-establishing himself as a contributor with the Kings.
"I'm loving this guy with how he's playing, under control, staying within his strength, and doing a great job on the low post," Smart said. "When we need a bucket, he comes through, not with his right hand, but his left hand. He's working on that in practice, and it's paying off for him."
Thompson's role was uncertain before the season. Hayes was starting and J.J. Hickson was the first big man off the bench.
Thompson began to show signs of being a consistent contributor after Hayes' injury and worked his way into the starting lineup. In his first eight starts Thompson averaged 10.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.
Thompson had 15 points and 16 rebounds in Saturday's 114-106 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors at Power Balance Pavilion.
"J.T. did an incredible job (Saturday) on both ends of the floor," said DeMarcus Cousins after the game. "I know I had a career stat (20 rebounds) but J.T. did a lot tonight. It was just a great feeling; everybody stepped up tonight."