Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette discuss their game night preparation. Plus, Tyreke Evans dishes on his crunch time approach.
– After averaging 2.5 points per game over his previous four appearances, Kings guard Isaiah Thomas on Tuesday provided a much-needed spark off the bench against Minnesota. In the second half, No. 22 scored 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field to go along with three assists and two steals in 13 minutes, attributing his strong performance to a renewed outlook.
“The last four or five games, I’ve been thinking a lot, thinking too much out there, and not just being me,” said Thomas after Wednesday’s practice. “I feel like I’m back to my old self … no matter if I start or if I come off the bench, I have to know I bring energy and I have to be me on the offensive end.”
The UW product says he’s made sure to remain mentally and physically prepared by putting in extra work before and after games.
“I’m getting more cardio in, I’m running stairs, I’m doing more things to stay ready and to keep getting better,” he said.
“Last year, at the beginning of the year, I was out there for 30 seconds sometimes, but I tried to make that the most exciting and fun 30 seconds of the game, and I’m getting back to that,” he added. “I have the right mindset now, knowing that I’m just going to play as hard as possible and just be me.”
– Fellow second-year guard Jimmer Fredette reveals he and Thomas have continuously pulled for one another despite competition for playing time.
“We’re both competitive, we work hard in practice – going against each other, trying to make each other better – so that’s one thing that’s a positive for us,” said No. 7. “We cheer for each other when (one is) on the bench and the other one’s playing.”
Putting an emphasis on conditioning, Fredette says his pregame routine includes a workout and putting up jump shots to have full confidence when Head Coach Keith Smarts calls his number.
“You just have to be ready and prepared,” said the BYU product. “(Coach Smart) decides on the matchups and what he feels is best for the team at that time, so that’s what we’re going through right now. It’s just stay ready, and when he calls your name, be ready to go.”
– Tyreke Evans – who’s averaged 21.0 points on 54.8 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists over the last five games – discloses while the Kings typically get the ball to the player who has the hot hand late in games, he’s fit to serve as Sacramento’s go-to playmaker in crunch time.
“I want to try to take on that challenge if Coach puts the ball in my hands and try to make a play for (myself) or for one of my teammates,” he said.
“I’m a guy who plays with my team and tries to win basketball games.”
Who do you think should be the Kings go-to player in crunch time?