Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/20/13
Coming off the bench isn't new to Travis Outlaw. What he's had to adjust to the last two seasons as a King was not getting off the bench at all. That happened 44 times last season. But there was a time when the 6-foot-9 forward was one of the most productive reserves in the NBA. That was five years ago. Before Outlaw was traded from Portland to the Los Angeles Clippers. Before injuries piled up. And before the Nets couldn't wait to use their amnesty waiver provision on Outlaw just one year into a six-year $36 million deal. "It seems like such a long time ago" Kings coach Michael Malone said of Outlaw's stint with Portland. "Travis was a good player. He ended games for them." Outlaw's confidence never wavered publicly. He always maintained a positive vibe amid the chaos that surrounded the Kings in recent seasons. Malone is giving Outlaw the opportunity to show he's still a viable NBA contributor. Injuries to Luc Mbah a Moute and Carl Landry have provided an opportunity for Outlaw and he has been one of the Kings' better players during the preseason. Outlaw said getting his work in last season wasn't tough but the games were. "The most difficult thing was sitting at the end of that bench" Outlaw said. "But you learn from it." Outlaw is in his 11th season at age 29 having entered the NBA directly from Starkville (Miss.) High School. His best NBA seasons were from 2007 to 2009 when he averaged double figures in scoring in back-to-back seasons. In 2007-08 Outlaw's 12.9 points per game off the bench were second among NBA reserves. He averaged a career-high 13.3 points that season and 12.8 points the following season. Beginning in 2009-10 injuries mounted. Foot and groin problems limited Outlaw to 34 games between Portland and Los Angeles that season. He signed with the Nets but underwhelmed. After the NBA lockout ended the Nets waived Outlaw and the Kings claimed him at $3 million per season (the Nets pay the rest of his salary). Mbah a Moute's sore right knee has given Outlaw a chance to compete for the starting small forward spot with John Salmons. Landry's surgery for a torn hip flexor has Malone looking at using Outlaw as a "stretch four" or power forward who can play away from basket.
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