By now you’ve heard that Kings big man Chuck Hayes will be out around 3-4 weeks with a dislocated left shoulder which happened midway through the second quarter in Thursday’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The injury is a devastating blow to the Kings on-floor product as Hayes, while not a stat magnet, had already established himself as the Kings leader – both physically and vocally during games. It was only a week ago that Tyreke Evans said Chuck Hayes was the only King on the floor talking during their defensive sets and it’s well known he’s played coach on the floor, trying to put guys in the correct positions, etc.
- Jason Thompson – Clearly the “defensive” player of the two, Thompson’s game would more replicate the role of Hayes than Hickson and his athletic skill-set. Keith Smart said he liked DeMarcus Cousins as his center, but Smart may opt to move Cousins to the PF role for a few weeks until Hayes returns given how much more productive Thompson is as a five.
- J.J. Hickson – Hickson is no doubt much more athletic and versatile than Thompson, not to mention equipped with far more fire power on the offensive side of the ball and brings a different style of motor than JT possesses. Hickson in the starting five gives the Kings a more offensively minded starting unit, something Smart may like given the Kings slow starts this season but there’s no doubt the defense will suffer with Hickson starting over Thompson.
- Small Ball – You know the thought has crossed Smart’s mind. I’m certainly not advocating it, but as we saw the small lineup in the Bucks game and given the fact that Smart is a decibel of Nellie, could we see Evans moved to SF, Fredette moved into the starting lineup and the Kings playing a Donte Greene/John Salmons at PF for stretches? Far fetched, yes – but out of the question, hardly.
You’d like some lineup consistency during Hayes’ absence, so how say you King fans – who are you starting in place of the injured Hayes?