Kings’ Mike Brown reveals area Sasha Vezenkov must master to play this season

Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown wasn’t too sure if former EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov would be a part of the rotation entering the season.

But through three games, Vezenkov is contributing at a high level.

Vezenkov continued that display on Sunday, recording a season-high 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and one block in a 132-127 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. He shot 4-of-10 from the field, including two 3-pointers in 18 minutes off the bench.

The 28-year-old had five points in the first quarter as the Kings raced out to a 41-28 lead. He hit some timely shots throughout the game, and also had a couple of key defensive possessions.

That area, Brown said, is going to be key for Vezenkov.

The reality of it is, what is going to happen, when he is on the floor, a lot of teams are just going to call him up into pick and rolls. He has got to be able to sit down and guard if he switches, or he has got to be able to play the coverage we’re in. If he can do that, he is going to have a chance to be on the floor a lot because he has got a good feel for the game. He does a lot of little things out on the floor and, I’ll tell you what, when he gets his rhythm from that 3-point line, look out because he can flat-out shoot it.

Vezenkov signed a three-year contract with the Kings after playing the past five years with Olympiacos in Greece. He was named the MVP last season after averaging 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 38.3% shooting from 3-point range.

So far this season, Vezenkov is averaging 9.7 points and 2.3 rebounds on 40% shooting from 3-point range. He has given the Kings a floor-spacing option and a rebounding presence off the bench, which Brown has loved about him.

The Kings like the offensive versatility Vezenkov brings. Brown previously commended him for his willingness to shoot as it will help the team space the floor. The lefty hasn’t hesitated to let it go and should continue to be a shooting threat this year.

Vezenkov will have some growing pains with the transition to the NBA, but he continues to learn and should have a productive year if he can improve each game.

“Of course, it is a different pace and a different game,” Vezenkov said. “You have to adjust first mentally. There will be games where they’re more bad than the others, but I am here working every day trying to learn from everybody. Every advice from every player, coach is very useful, and I’m trying to adapt as fast as possible.”

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire