Most of the rotation questions for Keith Smart this season have been about how he substitutes his point guards.

Now the question becomes how he uses his top three post players.

Power forward Patrick Patterson's play since joining the Kings in a Feb. 20 trade from Houston has made it hard for Smart to keep Patterson on the bench.

Patterson started the two games prior to Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Sleep Train Arena and played well.

With DeMarcus Cousins back after missing two games with a left quad contusion, Patterson returned to a reserve role.

Smart did not anticipate any problems with Patterson. He averaged 18 points on 15-of-19 shooting in his two starts. That included making all four of his three-pointers.

Smart said Patterson has been great about his situation since arriving.

Patterson started 38 of the 47 games he played with the Rockets.

"I said, 'I know you've been starting on a team that was in a big playoff race,' " Smart said. "He said, 'Coach don't even go there. I'm willing to do whatever it takes on the basketball team. So however you want to use me, that's fine.' You need pros like this young man."