2014 Las Vegas Summer League in review
LAS VEGAS – The Sacramento Kings’ stay in Sin City finally came to an end Monday night when they won the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League Championship. Which players stood out, and which players flopped? What moments left lasting impressions on us? Cowbell Kingdom breaks down what it took away from the Kings’ two-week experience in Vegas.
Jonathan Santiago: Ray McCallum didn’t average 20 and 10 over the course of his time in Vegas, but the second-year man out of Detroit Mercy led his team with calm and composure. When McCallum wasn’t making plays on the court, the 23-year-old guard could be seen offering words of wisdom and encouragement to fellow teammates. He was an extension of summer league coach Ty Corbin out on the floor, and that’s what you want to see out of a point guard.
James Ham: Quincy Acy played like a man trying to earn a guaranteed contract. Acy will find out his fate with the Kings later this week, but the 23-year-old forward anchored this team with his scoring, rebounding, defense and tenacity. The Kings have a glut at forward and I expect them to pass on Acy’s option, but he will land firmly on his feet in the NBA.
JS: Derrick Williams ended his summer league stint on a high note, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting against the D-League Select Team. But instead of building on that performance, his stay in Vegas immediately ended following that game. It may have been part of the Kings’ plan to keep Williams in town for a short period of time. But considering he still has plenty to prove, an extended stay would’ve been better for his development.
JH: Derrick Williams should have just stayed home. In three games, the former second overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft shot just 42.3 percent from the field, grabbed 2.7 rebounds per game and failed to hand out a single assist. The fact that he said he was using summer league to get in shape tells you everything you need to know about his commitment level.
JS: The Kings won six games, including the championship contest, so there are plenty of moments from which to choose. Eric Moreland’s stuff of the Bulls’ Lance Thomas and Ben McLemore’s dunk late in the championship game are just a few highlights. But I’ll go with Ray McCallum’s 3-point heave late in Monday’s title game that pretty much sealed the deal for the Kings’ championship run.
JH: Eric Moreland’s monster two-handed block on Lance Thomas was incredible, but Ray McCallum stole the show with his 30-foot runner that gave the Kings the four-point lead with 1:25 remaining in the championship game. It took a while for McCallum to have a breakout performance, but he chose the right moment.
Sign that guy now
JS: They should extend an offer to Eric Moreland as soon as possible. The long, rangy big man out of Oregon State played with plenty of energy and hustle and owns a skill (shot-blocking) that the Kings desperately need.
JH: I would love to say Acy right here, but Moreland brings something the Kings desperately need: rim protection. Acy is a better player, but the Kings have seven guys on the roster that can play the power forward position and Moreland is a better shot blocker than all of them. Moreland has instincts that you just can’t teach.
JS: Outside of Moreland, two other players who really stood out to me were MarShon Brooks and Ra’Shad James. Brooks would be a fantastic pickup for the Kings, but his play this July, as well as his status as a former first-round pick might put him out of their price range. James was impressive as well, considering he outplayed a former first-rounder in Jared Cunningham to earn major minutes in the Kings summer league backcourt.
JH: Sacramento may take a little flack for celebrating a summer league championship, but for a team and a fanbase desperate for something to cheer about, this was a good moment. In the grand scheme of things, it means very little, but the Kings brought four or five roster players to Las Vegas, and each contributed in his own way. Winning at any level is bound to help with confidence going forward.