Mike Malone working to mold Isaiah Thomas into starting point guard

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Before Greivis Vasquez was moved in the Rudy Gay trade, Isaiah Thomas was an early top candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award. He was exactly what you want in a sixth man — he came in and changed the tempo of the game, he was a fearless scorer who would attack, knock down threes and was still dishing out assists.

However a starting point guard has a different role, different responsibilities — setting up teammates, calling plays — and that is the role Thomas has been in the last dozen games.

Coach Mike Malone is working closely with Thomas and they are developing a synergy on how to do the things a starting point guard must — and you can see the maturation on the court. Malone and Thomas talked about it with the Sacramento Bee.

“Isaiah’s got to be an extension of me on the court,” Malone said. “He’s got to make sure he’s getting guys looks, know what plays to call, now what matchups he’s going to exploit and how to get those guys going where they’re most effective, and that’s part of his maturation of going from being a scoring guard off the bench to being a playmaking guard.”

After Sunday’s loss at San Antonio, Thomas said the Kings needed to be less predictable on offense. That was the case late in their 110-106 win over Houston on Tuesday.

“We just gave them different looks,” Thomas said. “We can’t go with the same thing each and every time. … (Tuesday) we got stops and gave them different looks.”

Thomas’ numbers are strong as a starter, in his last 10 games he has averaged 21 points and 7.5 assists a game, with a strong true shooting percentage of 58.8 percent.

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But it is his growth doing the little things that can really get the Kings winning more games. Like beating the Rockets.