Bracket play began at the Las Vegas Summer League on Wednesday, but there was nothing new about the ugly results for the Sacramento Kings.
Handed the 20th seed out of 22 teams after losing their first three games, the Kings drew the 13th-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves. Congrats to you if you made it through this one. The T-Wolves, led by 17 points from rookie Shabazz Muhammad, dismantled the Kings inept summer roster, 92-54.
All Kings fans eyes were again on rookies Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum, seemingly the only two players on the roster who will be with the big club for the NBA season.
McLemore followed up a 26-point explosion with his third dud of the tournament. The rookie was rarely afforded an open look from the perimeter and instead took to forcing the ball inside. The length of the Timberwolves interior defenders was a huge deterrent, and McLemore mustered just one point while missing all eight of his field goal attempts.
McCallum continues to show that his body and athleticism is NBA ready, but his overall game needs much polish. He did best when attacking the rim, though on this night, McCallum struggled to convert in the paint. He also has yet to establish much of a perimeter game, and his ability to create is hurt by a roster nearly completely devoid of any scoring talent.
With one game remaining on the Kings summer league schedule, it’s looking safe to pencil in Marcus Thornton as Sacramento’s starting shooting guard come opening night (barring an unforeseen trade). Nobody should overreact to McLemore’s poor summer league showing — he’s definitely flashed the ability that has Kings fans excited — but it’s pretty clear that he’ll need a little time before stepping into the lineup. A prominent bench role seems his best bet.
Simply due to numbers, McCallum seems best suited for a trip to the Kings NBA D-League affiliate in Reno. Getting a chance to run that offense against higher competition than he faced at Detroit will be more beneficial for the rookie than languishing on the Kings bench. He’s not ready to supplant Greivis Vasquez or Isaiah Thomas for minutes.
The Kings move to the consolation round and will play their final game in Vegas on Friday.