Is fatigue taking its toll on Sacramento Kings rookie Ray McCallum?

Ray McCallum looks to breakdown Devin Harris off the dribble. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Ray McCallum has played heavy minutes for the Sacramento Kings since Isaiah Thomas has been sidelined the last eight games due to injury. In eight-straight starts, McCallum is playing an astonishing 45 minutes a night due to the lack of depth in the Kings’ backcourt.

McCallum progressed from game to game in his first five starts. He set career-highs in points and assists in consecutive contests against the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers. However, the 22-year-old rookie has appeared to hit a wall in his last three outings, where he’s shot less than 23 percent from the field and 11.1 percent from 3-point distance.

This begs the question: is McCallum starting to feel fatigued from playing extensive minutes every night?

“I feel like he’s got fresh legs,” Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said jokingly of his rookie teammate after last night’s loss to the Thunder. “But nah, he’s taken on a tough task as well. I mean, to run a team for 40-plus minutes a night – an NBA team – that’s tough. I don’t think he’s getting enough credit, but I’m pretty sure there’s some fatigue in there, but I think he’s doing a great job of not showing it.”

The Kings have had guard Jared Cunningham at their disposal for more than a week now. However, the former first round pick has played just under five minutes a contest in four appearances in a Kings uniform. With McCallum seemingly playing all but three minutes a game on average, Kings head coach Michael Malone isn’t dismissing the idea of giving Cunningham an extended look.

“Ray’s a trooper, he wants to get on the floor,” Malone said last night. “But I thought Jared in his short minutes that he played tonight did a fairly good job. Very active, good defense, good athleticism, attacked the basket a few times. Maybe we’ll try to get Jared in a little bit tomorrow because of it being a back-to-back.”

In eight games as a starter, McCallum has averaged 13.4 points and 7.1 assists per contest.

Rudy Gay and Reggie Evans’ availability in Portland remain in question

Rudy Gay and Reggie Evans were both surprising scratches to last night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gay sat out yesterday’s contest with a lower back strain while Evans didn’t play because of a sore back.

The Kings are in Portland to take on the Trail Blazers this evening and whether they play tonight is still in question according to coach Malone.

“I’m not sure,” Malone said after last night’s game when asked about Evans’ availability for this evening’s game. “We’ll see how they feel, both he and Rudy. But there’s definitely a good chance that one, if not both of those guys, will try to play (Wednesday) night.

The Kings were already battling the injury bug in their backcourt. Isaiah Thomas has missed the last eight games after suffering a deep thigh bruise against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 23. Like Gay and Evans, his status remains up in the air for tonight’s match-up against the Trail Blazers.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.