Little time was awarded to a pair of former BYU basketball players to prove themselves on the court during NBA preseason action Monday.
In the case of Jimmer Fredette, there was no time awarded. In the Sacramento Kings' 94-81 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Fredette did not play, an unpromising sign for the guard at the start of the Michael Malone era in Sacramento.
The news was better for former Cougar Brandon Davies, who scored his first pro points on an alley-oop dunk in the L.A. Clippers' 89-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Davies hit 1-of-2 shots and had two rebounds and two turnovers while playing six minutes and 46 seconds late in the contest.
Fredette's absence on the court comes after he expressed encouragement in finding a role on this year's Kings squad under new leadership. Malone was hired as Sacramento's coach during the offseason, replacing Keith Smart.
"It's about that confidence and knowing that you're progressing as a basketball player even if you're not on the floor all the time," Fredette told Sacramento ABC 10's Sean Cummingham during the team's media day. "That's what I was able to do last year and keep that mindframe, knowing that at some point, you're going to get a chance and when you do, you've got to take full advantage of it."
Fredette is a part of a crowded backcourt where Isaiah Thomas and Greivis Vasquez are expected to compete for starting time at point guard, while the team has Marcus Thornton and 2013 first-round draft pick Ben McLemore at shooting guard.
Another bad sign for Fredette from Monday was that the former Cougar point guard didn't receive any playing time despite Vasquez missing the game with an ankle injury, according to the Sacramento Bee. Jason Jones of the Bee reported that Vasquez could miss the Kings' next game as well, Thursday against the L.A. Lakers.
Jones said the most questions he received after Sacramento's loss were about Fredette not making it on the court, and he offered a simple solution.
"Fredette is at best the No. 3 point guard behind Thomas and Vasquez. If Ray McCallum continues to play as well as reported, Fredette would be the fourth point guard," Jones wrote, while saying he does expect Fredette to receive playing time sometime during the preseason.
Davies, meanwhile, received late-game minutes to show what he could do. The forward's dunk was the final points of the game for the Clippers.
Starting center DeAndre Jordan led Los Angeles with 16 points and eight rebounds in the win over Portland. Davies was one of five reserve big men to receive minutes. The others included center Byron Mullens (five points, two rebounds in 16:04 played), forward Antawn Jamison (seven points, one rebound, 7:59), center Ryan Hollins (five points, one rebound, 10:51), forward Lou Amundson (five rebounds, three turnovers, 8:54) and forward JaMychal Green (three rebounds, 4:32). Forward Matt Barnes did not play, due to injury.
Davies, a Provo native, will return to familiar territory for Los Angeles' next preseason game: the Clippers play the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday night.
LILLARD INVALUABLE: Just how important is former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard to the Portland Trail Blazers' offense?
NBA.com blogger John Schuhmann wrote that the Blazers score 11.5 fewer points per 100 possessions when Lillard is on the bench, as compared to when he is in the game.
"That was the biggest offensive, on-off-court differential in the league for players who logged at least 1,000 minutes with one team," Schuhmann wrote. "And though Lillard has a fantastic season as a rookie point guard, the drop-off was more about the Blazers’ bench than it was about him."
Lillard led the league in minutes played last season, averaging 38.6 minutes per game while earning NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Schuhmann asserted that "the Blazers’ second unit lacked both deep threats and guys who can make plays with the ball," leading to Portland's struggles when Lillard sat.
Among the Trail Blazers' moves to bring in guard help this offseason was signing former Jazzman Mo Williams.
Lillard had a full stat line in playing the third-most minutes (25:11) for Portland against the Clippers on Monday. He shot 3-for-10 from the field — including missing all five 3-point attempts — while hitting a perfect 5-of-5 on free throws to account for 11 points. Lillard also had six assists, four rebounds, five fouls, three turnovers, a steal and a blocked shot.
BOGUT OUT TO SHOW HE'S STILL GOT IT: Former University of Utah center Andrew Bogut is entering the final year of his contract with the Golden State Warriors after playing in only 32 regular-season games last year due to injury. Now he is trying to prove his worth to the Warriors, who traded for him in March 2012, in a contract year.
In Golden State's opening loss against the L.A. Lakers, Bogut led the team with 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. He also had seven points, an assist and a steal in 17 minutes of game time.
Against Sacramento on Monday, though, Bogut had less of an impact. In nearly 22 minutes, he scored two points and had four rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots to go along with three turnovers and six fouls.
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd
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