LAS VEGAS - Basketball isn’t typically found in its purest form at the Las Vegas Summer League. And that was exactly the case today for the Sacramento Kings and their two new rookies as the opened up their 2013 schedule against the Dallas Mavericks. Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore shot a combined 7-of-34 in their Summer League debut and the Kings fell 76-73 to the Mavericks today at Cox Pavilion.
- McLemore was the primary culprit in the Kings’ poor shooting this afternoon. The Kings rookie guard shot just 4-of-23 from the field and an abysmal 1-of-11 from 3-point land. Summer League coach Chris Jent suggested that among the facets McLemore must work on is shot selection. ”He’s gotta take good shots,” Jent said after today’s game. ”When he’s open, he’s gotta knock shots down. He had a tough day today. But he’s gotta pick his head up and get after it tomorrow. Fortunately, we get back in the gym, (he can) shoot some shots and learn from it. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to learn and get better and he’s no exception to that.”
- The Kings also announced that McLemore officially signed his rookie contract today. McLemore was ecstatic to break the news after the game. ”It’s been great,” McLemore said of coming to Sacramento. ”I’m excited to be here. I just signed my NBA contract today so I’m blessed to have the opportunity. I’m definitely happy and excited.”
- Ray McCallum struggled, shooting 3-of-11 from the field, but he didn’t let that deter his willingness to pass. He constantly looked to set teammates up before finding his own shot. For his efforts, the 22-year-old point guard finished with five assists and just two turnovers in defeat. ”If my shot isn’t going down, I gotta find the open guy,” McCallum said post-game. ”I was trying to get in the paint, get in the lane, try and create for others and try to find shots for my teammates. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great shooting day for our team. But it’s the first game and I think after we get in the gym tomorrow, we’ll be just fine for Monday.”
- Jent on his team’s overall effort in game one: ”We just had to finish the game, finish quarters. We played really well in segments, but we can’t allow 25 points in the last quarter of the game. Overall, the effort was great, the guys were out there working great and working together.”
- McCallum and McLemore may not have performed well, but there were certainly a few Kings worth mentioning who did. Drew Gordon was perhaps the Kings most statistically-productive player, scoring 17 points on 7-of-12 shots and grabbing 10 rebounds. Trent Lockett chipped in eight points on an efficient 3-of-5 shooting and played solid defense for the Kings from the perimeter. And with 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting, C.J. Aiken also put together a solid performance off the Kings’ Summer League bench.
- Out of the three Summer League invites who played well today, Aiken stood out. As demonstrated in his perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field, the 6’9 product of out St. Joseph’s didn’t force the issue on offense and took shots the defense gave him. He used his 7’1 wingspan to his advantage, bothering Mavs with it on the defensive side. On this week’s Cowbell Kingdom Podcast, assistant coach Dee Brown praised Aiken as one of the players who stood out in practices leading up to the Kings’ first game. His effort on the practice court definitely translated today.
- The Sacramento Kings braintrust was out in full force at today’s first game. General Manager Pete D’Alessandro, assistant GM Mike Bratz and director of player personnel Shareef Abdur-Rahim observed today’s action in the stands alongside coach Michael Malone and his father/assistant coach Brendan Malone. Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadivé watched the game courtside with his daughter Anjali. Mitch Richmond, the former Kings great and one of Ranadivé’s partners in the general partnership, was also spotted this afternoon.
- Sitting among the Kings braintrust was former Golden State Warriors great Chris Mullin. The hall of fame player could be seen with D’Alessandro’s team throughout most of the contest, but also spent a significant time watching the game with Ranadivé, who left his courtside seat during the second quarter to join Mullin in the stands. Mullin is currently advising the Kings as friend of D’Alessandro and Ranadivé’s, but he still has a standing offer to join the franchise as a consultant.
- Several Kings players were in attendance of this afternoon’s contest as well. Kings big man Jason Thompson watched the game with friends and family, including his brother Ryan, who is a member of the Wizards’ Summer League team. New forward Luc Mbah a Moute spent some time chatting and watching in the stands with coach Malone. Marcus Thornton also made an appearance and greeted his team’s two new rookies following the loss.
Injury report: McLemore took a little bit of a physical beating, receiving some punishment to his lower body in the first half. He said an opposing Mvas player fell on his left knee, but he felt fine after the game.
WATCH: Ray McCallum shares his thoughts on his first Summer League game