When the Sacramento Kings selected Ray McCallum in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft, many were unfamiliar with the name. But that was a good thing considering McCallum likely never would have played for the Kings had he opted to attend college outside of Detroit considering highly touted programs like Arizona were aiming to sign him.
Alas, McCallum stayed close to home and looked to be nothing more than another standout lower division player who’d possibly end up being a career D-League player. But looks can be deceiving.
Check out Ray McCallum’s season grades below.
The late season production was a joy to watch, and at the very worst proved that McCallum can be a capable backup point guard in the league. Expecting anything more out of him—like expecting him to take over Thomas’ role should IT leave this summer—is far too optimistic. We’ll need to see a full season of production from Ray before we can determine how good a player he can really become.
It’s safe to say that no player exceeded expectations more than rookie Ray McCallum. Kings management raved about their second-round selection, and late in the season they smartly created playing time for the rook by buying out Jimmer Fredette. McCallum took the opportunity and ran with it.
After his role expanded further with the late-season injury to Isaiah Thomas, McCallum proved why the front office was high on him. McCallum’s poise in running the offense and energetic defense were evident immediately. Despite logging heavy minutes, McCallum kept his turnovers low and kept the Kings offense running smoothly. Ray Mac also showed occasional flashes of his own offense, exhibiting solid touch with his jumper and an ability to penetrate defenses.
McCallum struggled on occasion with overdribbling, a hesitance to look for his own offense and some inconsistent shooting. But for a second round pick, it was all you could ask for. Some believe McCallum is ready to be the Kings point guard of the future. I won’t go that far yet, but he’s clearly earned the backup job next year regardless of what else the Kings do at the position.
It’s hard to expect anything from a second round pick, but McCallum isn’t really a traditional second round player. Sure, that’s where he was selected but this is the same kid who turned down scholoraships to play for some of the biggest and most traditioned NCAA basketball programs in the country so he could remain with his father. Skill wise, McCallum is a much better player than his draft stock suggested and he proved that this season, putting up impressive numbers for any rookie when he received playing time, especially for a ‘second rounder’. Sure, he still has things he needs to work on like shooting, but the kid can play and had a better rookie campaign than a lot of players who were drafted far higher.
Like mentioned above, he’s by no stretch ready to take over a starting role but he could easily become a serviceable backup soon as this season.