FanPost

Trust Ray McCallum to Lessen Impact of IT's Departure

Since the surprise signing of Darren Collison nearly a week ago, Sacramento Kings fans have been engulfed by panic and have already begun to stew over the loss of fan favorite Isaiah Thomas.

Our homegrown NBA talent, aka 20-point a night fright, is all-but-gone – leaving a perceived major gap at one of the most pivotal positions on the floor. For a team comprised of young talent that finished 28-54 last season, this is something that is potentially terrifying. In the increasingly challenging Pacific Division - with arguably the game’s best point guard and other all-stars and emerging all-stars – there is little room for error when it comes to the level of play we need from this position on most nights.

The writing is on the wall for Isaiah’s impending departure to a higher bidder, and the Kings look to be accepting the fact that they will need to move on without one of their biggest contributors and steadiest players. The Kings will no doubt miss Thomas’ offensive production, with 2013-14 per game averages of 20.3 points on 45.3% field goal shooting, 6.3 assists, and 1.8 three-pointers. His energy, passion, and resilient nature will be missed on the court.

What are we to do Sacramento; oh what are we to do?

There are rumors about Rondo, rumors about Lin. Some are praying for Bledsoe like they’re praying to win the MEGA Millions (not that there isn’t a high probability of winning the MEGA Millions). I’m sure some fans are racking ESPN’s Trade Machine in hopes of finding the deal out there that nets us a stud point guard.

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via cdn.fansided.com

The fact of the matter is, maybe we can make do with what we have. While it does present risk, a duo of Darren Collison and Ray McCallum may not be as tragic as we think.

Collison has spent two-thirds of his career as an NBA starter, with career averages of 28.7 minutes, 11.9 points, and 4.9 assists. He’s a player that has proved to be able to run an offense and play steady basketball, and has played on three playoff teams in his five NBA seasons. He’s also played alongside Chris Paul twice and will continue to improve at the ripening age of 26.

Additionally, it is my belief that the Detroit-native McCallum will be a satisfying surprise in a shared scenario with Collison. McCallum showed some resiliency in his own right last season, spending the first month of the season in the D-League before being called up to play sparingly. It wasn’t until late February that he finally started getting some burn, and he eventually got the opportunity to showcase his abilities when Thomas missed ten of the last twelve games with a quad injury.

While those twelve games did serve as a small sample size, McCallum showed promise logging 42 BIG minutes a game with averages of 12.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 6.8 apg, and under 2 turnovers.

Here is a table of McCallum’s per-36 minute averages over that 12-game stretch, compared to Collison’s per-36 season average and Isaiah’s true season averages (on 35 minutes per game) over 70 contests:

McCallum

11.6 pts

2.6 rebs

5.8 apg

1.6 to

1.1 stls

Collison

15.9 pts

3.3 rebs

5.2 apg

2.3 to

1.6 stls

Thomas

20.3 pts

2.9 rebs

6.3 apg

3.0 to

1.3 stls

Once again, I will reiterate – small sample size.

But apparently, that was enough to open eyes around the league. According to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, Celtics GM Danny Ainge brought McCallum in for a private workout leading up to this year's NBA draft. Woj Links Ray McCallum to Celtics

IT's scoring efficiency does present a sizeable advantage over McCallum, but his numbers in other categories don’t drown McCallum’s out. As a rookie, McCallum actually took better care of the ball than Thomas. The glaring gap in McCallum’s game was a dismal field goal percentage (37.7%), but that’s to be expected by a rookie point guard. He showed he could be serviceable, and with some summer development and growth in confidence, I believe he has the ability to be a functional backup that can provide 20 good minutes a game.

Scoff at the notion if you want, but this team is coming off a 28-win season and is in a grisly Pacific Division. It’s tough to place upcoming season expectations higher than a 4th place division finish. Add the fact that McCallum’s 2014-15 salary is a mere smidge on the books at $816,482, and you start to become more apt to roll the dice and live to fight another day in free agency.

If we are to accept the fact that Isaiah’s gone, then we need to survey the landscape. It might be a gamble to trust in McCallum, but I would rather do it with a guy that has shown toughness and mental fortitude in Sacramento. Plus, wouldn't it be fun to try our luck at developing another 2nd round draft pick into a fan favorite and coveted player.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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