The 2023 California Classic Summer League is underway, as we saw six teams compete in their first games of the season. The Sacramento Kings took down the Golden State Warriors in a battle of young talent.
While the Summer League is not always a fair indication of what these young guys can do, it shows how they handle certain situations, especially if it is their first career NBA game. If it is not their first career NBA game, like rostered Kings players Keegan Murray, Kessler Edwards, or Neemias Queta, it gives Sacramento a chance to see their development.
Here are six takeaways from the Kings’ first California Classic Summer League game:
This should be Keegan Murray’s last career Summer League game
Heading into the Summer League, it was already a question of whether Keegan Murray would touch the court. It is not uncommon to see second-year players play in Summer League, but Murray has surpassed that stage. Murray might as well be a veteran with his level of play, and he looked as impressive as expected in Monday night’s win.
With a 29-point outing, Keegan Murray was the best player on the court. He did a fantastic job getting to the free-throw line, knocking down 10 of 11. The only thing we want to see more from him is rebounding, as he finished with just one, and that is a point that should have been addressed after a poor rebounding season as a team last year.
Rookie Colby Jones looked comfortable
In his first NBA game, Colby Jones was as good as expected. The 34th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. While he struggled from deep, going 1-5, Jones always looked comfortable with and without the ball. The three-year college player was deemed NBA-ready coming into the league, and his versatility on both sides of the ball proves it. We would like to see him with more of a chance to be a playmaker, as he has proven effective with the ball in his hands.
Jordan Ford should compete for the 3rd-string point guard spot
While he was impressive in the G League for the Stockton Kings, Jordan Ford’s game carried over as he started for the Kings Summer League in Monday night’s victory. The 25-year-old guard went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft but had an impressive 18-point outing, shooting 6-8 from the field and a perfect 3-3 from deep while leading the team with 3 assists.
Jordan Ford was the best guard on the team this game, and if all else fails, he could get called up from Stockton to be a third-string point guard on Sacramento’s roster.
Kessler Edwards is getting there…
After Sacramento picked up Kessler Edwards’ team option, we questioned what role the 22-year-old would play for the Kings. Heading into the season, we assume Edwards will not be a part of the rotation, but strong showings in the Summer League could help his case. While he struggled shooting the ball (5-14 and 0-7 from three), Edwards was impressive in other ways.
Edwards finished with four offensive rebounds as he was actively crashing the boards. He also finished with four steals, doing a great job jumping passing lanes, and was overall impressive on defense. While his offense is still developing, Edwards was taking good shots but they were not falling.
Neemias Queta was good… at times
Neemias Queta’s future with Sacramento has been in question, as the Kings’ decision to bring back Alex Len showed they felt Queta was not ready to take over as the backup center. Queta posted a double-double in Monday’s win with 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 3 blocks but struggled with 7 fouls.
The 7’0″ center had good moments as a rim protector but overall looked slow on defense. With a lack of tools on offense, Queta did not look ready to play NBA ball as the 23-year-old continues to develop.
Rookie Jalen Slawson might take some time
In Jalen Slawson’s first NBA game, he struggled. In 16 minutes of action, Slawson finished with one point. While we try not to judge a player based on their first appearance, Slawson seemed overall ineffective on the court on Monday. We expect Slawson to gain confidence and get more comfortable, as he was the 54th overall pick in this year’s draft and should take some time.
Jalen Slawson will likely spend most of the season playing for the Stockton Kings after signing to a two way contract.