The Sacramento Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-86 on Thursday Night, advancing to the quarterfinals in the first ever Summer League Tournament.
The most newsworthy tidbit to come out of tonight’s game was the absence of Derrick Williams, who may or may not be on his way out of Sacramento in a rumored deal involving Detroit Pistons’ forward Josh Smith. Or at least that’s what we all thought until the game was over and Kings Head Coach Michael Malone said that the plan was for Williams to play a partial summer league schedule from the beginning, so who knows. It was a fun distraction if nothing else. With that being said, lets take a look at how some of the young Kings played tonight.
Ray McCallum – (27 MIN, 13 PTS, 6-7 FG, 1-1 3FG, 5 AST, 4 REB, 2 TO)
Despite the solid numbers, McCallum was fairly quiet tonight in the kind of way you want your starting point guard to be. He was solid. He shared the ball well. He didn’t try to do too much. He never forced his own offense. When he had an offensive opportunity he took it and converted. His selflessness is something this team needs, and he’s providing that this summer.
Ben McLemore – (31 MIN, 22 PTS, 7-11 FG, 2-4 3FG, 6-6FTM, 6 REB, 4 AST, 3 TO)
I’ve been fairly critical of Ben over the past year and half. I have no problem admitting that I’m worried about his development. I thought he had a dreadful rookie season, but he was outstanding tonight. This is why a lot of people believe in his potential. When he’s on, he makes it look so effortless. He was hitting from outside. He was making plays going towards the rim. He was passing effectively, and he even cut down on the turnovers. Most importantly, he looked confident doing all of that. I don’t want to overreact to two summer league games, but if he is indeed turning the corner here, remember this game.
Quincy Acy – (28 MIN, 15 PTS, 7-11 FG, 1-2 3FG, 7 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK)
Acy has been one the better stories this summer. I can’t remember the last time I saw a player improve one particular skill, and had the results be as obvious as it has been this summer with Acy and his jump shot. He knocked down a few more tonight, as he’s been doing for four games now. Despite his 7 rebounds, the Kings struggled on the defensive glass when he was in the game, which is what we would have pointed to as the reason the Kings lost if they had lost. Minnesota started two NBA sized big men in Gorgui Dieng and Kyrlyo Fesenko, and Acy struggled with those big bodies at times, but you can’t doubt his competitiveness in there. Acy has been the backbone of the Kings summer league team. He’s set the competitive tone in every one of their games, and he did that again tonight.
Nik Stauskas – (24 MIN, 4 PTS, 1-3 FG, 1-3 3FG, 1-2 FTM, 3 REB, 5 AST, 1 TO)
I’m not going to pretend like Nik was great tonight, but he found a way to be productive despite a real lack of touches. He knocked down an early three at the start of this one, and didn’t record another field goal for the rest of the game. If the Kings had needed his offense, I might be more critical, but they didn’t. He stayed out of the way, which some might consider an NBA skill that few players have. When he got the ball, he moved it quickly, finding open teammates consistently with smart passes. The Kings are going to have games where they need Nik to be more aggressive, but tonight wasn’t one of them.
Marshon Brooks – (17 MIN, 19 PTS, 6-10 FG, 1-3 3FG, 6-6 FT, 1 REB, 2 TO)
Marshon Brooks is a professional scorer. He’s a known commodity. He scored more than a point a minute tonight, in case you had any doubts. He’s had a very nice summer for the Kings, showing his ability to contribute in a bench-scoring role in every summer league game thus far. I would think he’s earned himself a training camp invite with his play, but nothing has been made official.
Others – Tonight was also the Kings debut for recently acquired forward Alex Oriakhi (19 MIN, 6 PTS, 2-5 FG, 2-2 FT, 1 REB, 2 AST) and he looked OK out there. Nothing spectacular. I would have liked to see him hit the glass harder than he did, but he looked like a competent basketball player. My new basketball crush Eric Moreland (13 MIN, 5 PTS, 2-2 FG, 1-2 FT, 3 REB, 1 BLK) played well again despite receiving fewer minutes than he has in the past two games. Jared Cunningham (13 MIN, 9 PTS, 3-6 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 AST, 2 STL) also contributed with some offense off the bench in his best game of the summer.