Sacramento Kings blown out big in Summer League tournament opener

Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore talk things through. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

LAS VEGAS – The Sacramento Kings saved their most miserable performance of the 2013 NBA Summer League for the opening game of tournament play.  They lost in blowout fashion to the Minnesota Timberwolves, falling 92-54 in Las Vegas.  The Kings remain winless and now fall to 0-4 in Summer League play.

  • The Kings were on their third game in three nights and have essentially had no days off for the last 10.  However, head coach Michael Malone says that’s no excuse for coming to play without the proper intensity.  “The effort we put forth tonight was embarrassing,” Malone said.  “That’s not who we want to be and that’s not the kind of show we want to put on the floor.  When you miss shots, you turn the ball over, you miss free throws, you can live with that.  But I cannot live with the lack of effort and the lack of competitive fire that we did not show tonight.”
  • What can you say about a team that scores only 54 points while shooting 29.9 percent from the field?  This Summer League roster has had no success in Las Vegas due to a few factors, including its lack of size.  It has just two players that are 6’10 or taller and neither of them (Garrett Stutz and Xavier Gibson) are packing much muscle in the post.
  • Both Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore, the Kings’ two incoming draft picks, have had their fair  share of struggles out in Las Vegas and Wednesday was no different.  After chipping in 26 points in yesterday’s loss, McLemore had his worst showing yet, finishing with just one point on 0-of-8 shooting from the field.  McCallum, meanwhile, scored just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting.
  • McCallum’s statistical performance in Las Vegas has suffered, which is unfortunate because he’s passed the eye test.  The 22-year-old rookie racked up just one assist tonight and has only nine total in games.  McCallum would probably be averaging more than 2.7 assists per game if his team wasn’t shooting below 40 percent from the field and less than 25 percent from 3-point land.  “I just feel like I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing,” McCallum said.  “I’m a point guard and my role is to try and get guys involved.  I feel like with great shooters, they’re  gonna have off nights.  So I’m just gonna stay aggressive and get them shots.  It’s not gonna hold me back.  I’m just gonna continue to go out there and compete and go hard.  That’s just the kind of player I am.”
  • McLemore has had struggles shooting the ball, but one of his glaring weaknesses has been his ball-handling.  Though he’s had issues in Vegas, the Kings rookie shooting guard is well aware that it’s a problem that must be addressed.  “That’s the whole reason I’m playing here in the Summer League is to get better and work on some things,” said McLemore.  “I know when I get back, after the Summer League, I know there’s things I need to work on.  Even the night before I got here, I know what things I need to work on.  I know I need to work on my all-around game, my ball-handling…and just touching up.  Like I said, the whole Summer League is about just getting better and getting the feel for  the NBA life…and getting to know the NBA style.”
  • With the roster playing so poorly, how difficult is it for Kings decision-makers to evaluate the talent on the floor?  “It’s hard, but at the same time we need competitors,” said assistant coach Chris Jent.  “And there were guys that were out there still trying to compete.  And in any situation you’re in, your true colors are gonna come through.”
  • The Kings have been mathematically eliminated from winning the inaugural Summer League championship.  They’ll play their last game on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.
  • New team president Chris Granger was spotted at today’s game.  He sat for most of the contest in the stands with general manager Pete D’Alessandro.

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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.