Sunday Musings: Quincy Acy shows the NBA he’s more than just blue collar
“Every time you step on the court, it’s an audition for our league.” – Quincy Acy
Earlier this week during a Sacramento Kings summer league game in Las Vegas, Quincy Acy grabbed a ball on one end of the floor and started breaking for the other end. With long strides, he dribbled from one end of the court to the other, running directly at an opposing guard before sidestepping him and laying in the ball. Somewhere, there was a high school or college coach that has seen Acy go coast to coast before, but at the professional level, this was a new look for the 23-year-old forward.
Maybe it’s the beard or the fact that he looks exactly like 12-year NBA veteran and current Kings teammate Reggie Evans, but Acy has been typecast as a “dirty work” player. The former Baylor star has that ability, but he does so much more.
Unlike past summers, Sacramento brought a squad to Las Vegas. With all eyes on former first-round picks Derrick Williams, Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas and MarShon Brooks, Acy has been the most consistent player on the roster. But that’s not why the Kings brought him to the sweltering heat of Vegas.
“I told him today,” coach Michael Malone said earlier this week, “when he’s our starting center, which he is for our summer league team, we need him on the rim. He can’t be picking and popping like he’s Dirk Nowitzki.”
Malone wants a blue-collar worker, because he has plenty of players that can score. Acy’s job, despite standing just 6-foot-7, is to “screen, roll and put pressure on the rim to generate shots for himself or for his teammates,” Malone said.
Acy can do the job that Malone wants. But he has quietly added to his game to increase his marketability, be it in Sacramento or elsewhere.
“It’s a chance for me to get more minutes and have a more in-depth role on the team,” Acy said following practice this week. “If I’m out there with Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) and Rudy (Gay) and all those guys, they get paid millions of dollars to put the ball in the hole; that’s not my role.”
Taken with the No. 37 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Acy entered this summer with a non-guaranteed contract with Sacramento. The team has until later this month to decide whether to pick up his option at $915,243 for the upcoming season or let him become a free agent. With the Kings up against the luxury tax and roster spots at a premium, there are no promises for the fan favorite.
It is a sad reality of the NBA game. You could go through a checklist of attributes that Sacramento needs from a role player and Acy would fill almost every box, but it still might not be enough. The Kings’ roster is littered with power forwards, all of whom are already under contract for the upcoming season.
Barring a trade, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Reggie Evans are all natural power forwards. In addition, Derrick Williams, Travis Outlaw, Rudy Gay and even DeMarcus Cousins can play the position. It is a crowded frontline in major need of renovation, and Acy looks more like spare parts than a true fix at this point.
He has added a jumper to his repertoire. He is a fierce rebounder, an above-average position defender and if you are foolish enough to try and block one of his dunks, you may lose a hand. More than just his qualities as a basketball player, he is a solid citizen and excellent locker room guy.
“Quincy brings a unique set of skills to our team,” Malone said. “He’s an extremely hard worker, very passionate, plays hard, a lot of energy and we need guys like that, so we need him to keep getting better.”
While Malone would love to chain Acy to the basket or even hide him away for further development, he understands the reality of the situation.
“That’s always the tough thing as a coach in summer league,” Malone said. “You have guys that are, yes, playing for the team, but in Quincy’s case he’s also playing for Quincy and trying to put himself and his family in their best position.”
Despite his strong summer-league play, there is a high likelihood that Acy’s option will not be picked up. He has done everything in his power to get the nod, averaging 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game. He is shooting 56.3 percent from the field and hit three-of-five 3-point attempts. But the cards are stacked against him.
Coming into summer league, we discussed possible position battles and how they might play out in Las Vegas. While Derrick Williams is viewed as a part of the future of the Kings, he was outplayed by Acy in every facet of the game during his time in Vegas.
At this point in their careers, Acy is a better shooter, rebounder, finisher and defensive player than Williams and he is only seven months older than the former No. 2 overall selection. Maybe it is the fact that Williams is guaranteed his $6.3 million salary for next season and truly viewed summer league as a way to get into shape, while Acy knows he’s in a dog fight for a roster spot.
At some point, Williams’ potential will either be realized or wasted. In the meantime, Acy will continue to fight for his minutes and his paycheck with solid play.
Sacramento may not be the final landing spot for Acy, but he has shown enough to get another opportunity in the league. He may never be a star, but he gives everything he has each time he steps on the floor, and the NBA can never have enough players like that.