45 GP, 19.9 MPG, 6.2 PPG, .377 FG%, .373 3P%, 1.8 RPG, 2.7 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.2 BLK, 0.9 TOV, 1.5 PF
Needs to work on:
- Midrange Game
- Distribution Skills
Ray McCallum was a relative afterthought for most of the first part of the season, relegated to the D-League much of the time, where he did some very good things. It wasn't until after the All-Star break and a late season injury to Isaiah Thomas that McCallum really got an opportunity to shine for the Kings.
With Thomas out for 10 straight games, McCallum was the lone PG left on the roster after Jimmer Fredette's buyout and really the only ballhandler at all. Over those 10 games as a starter, he averaged an absurd 44.6 minutes a game. From March 26th to April 2nd, McCallum had a five game stretch in which he scored more points in each consecutive game, culminating in a 27 point, 5 assist effort in a win against the Lakers. It quickly became clear that McCallum had real NBA talent and could be a key piece to Sacramento's future.
McCallum's distribution skills in his first season were good but not great, with a very average 21.0% assist rate. Now a lot of that time was spent playing with a bench unit that featured almost no scorers, and he did average 7.3 assists as a starter, which is equivalent to about 5.9 assists per 36 minutes. For comparison's sake, Isaiah Thomas was at 6.5 assists per 36 minutes last season.
One area where McCallum really did shine however was in his ability to not turn the ball over. He had a very low turnover rate for a ballhandler at just 10.9% and his assist to turnover ratio was an elite 3:1. You might question whether that is sustainable, but in those 10 games as a starter where he played huge minutes, his ratio was even better at about 3.8:1. The guy takes care of the ball better than most players in the NBA already.
Offensively, McCallum proved to be a decent three point shooter, although he struggled mightily in the midrange areas, shooting just 30.4% from 3-10 feet, 37.0% from 10-16 feet and 27.3% from 16 feet to the 3 point arc. He'll need to shore up that part of his game in order to become a more efficient player and open up more options as opponents have to guard him more closely.
Defensively, McCallum showed a lot of potential and good effort, if not great results. The Kings were about 2.4 points per 100 possessions worse defensively with him on the court, but it's very rare to see a rookie come in and have a positive defensive impact, especially on a team full of bad defenders. McCallum at least exerted plenty of effort on that end of the floor, and his size and athletic ability should allow him to be a plus on that end of the court if he keeps working at it.
I feel it's fair to say that McCallum surpassed most of our expectations this season, and probably had a better year overall than fellow rookie Ben McLemore. He definitely cemented his place as part of this team, potentially for years to come.
Tomorrow: Ben McLemore