It took a few games but things finally clicked for the Kings in their victory over the D-League Select on Monday. Despite starting the game without scoring a single field goal in the first 7 minutes and trailing by double digits, Sacramento bounced back and won the final three quarters convincingly.
The Kings as a team shot a great 55.4% from the field and 45.5% from three while holding the D-League Select to just 40.6% from the field. Sacramento also got to the line more (28 attempts to 16) and outrebounded them (34 to 26).
Sacramento's starters led the way forward, all finishing in double digits, led by Ben McLemore's 18 points. McLemore was efficient, making 7 of his 10 field goal attempts (1-2 from downtown) and 3 of 4 at the line. He did have 5 turnovers however, a problem that's been plaguing him so far this summer league.
Derrick Williams finally came alive with 17 points of his own on 6-10 shooting but he only grabbed 1 rebound. Ray McCallum had a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists, looking much more comfortable running the team. His assist numbers were definitely helped by the fact that his teammates were actually hitting their shots for once. Rookie Nik Stauskas added 15 points of his own on a very efficient 6 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 from three to go with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Quincy Acy had 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Despite the starters carrying the offensive load, Eric Moreland came off the bench and set the tone on defense with his energy and long arms. He only finished with 2 blocks but he altered many more and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds as well. Marshon Brooks added 8 points off the bench in 16 minutes.
- We've seen a couple guys in recent years in Jimmer Fredette and Ben McLemore come into the league as supposed good shooters and then struggle with their shot in their first year. I don't think Nik Stauskas will have that problem. This guy's shot is so smooth already. He's also pretty quick and decisive when he senses an opening to the rim. I also love his unselfishness; Perhaps my favorite play of the game was Nik getting the ball in the corner for what was probably a good shot, but instead passing it to Williams for an uncontested dunk as the defense left him to run out at Nik. That was a high basketball IQ play, one that saw him pass up a good shoot to get a great shot.
- When Ben isn't being asked to create and instead play within himself, he can be pretty good. He's also doing a good job of utilizing his athleticism to get to the rim and more importantly finishing when he gets there. He's not trying to throw down on someone, he's focusing on making the basket. There was one sequence where Ben caught the ball at the three point line and then got to the rim in one dribble.
- Moreland is a difference maker on defense and it just goes to show what a real rim protector can do for a team. The Kings were lost until Moreland came in as a sub. He helped steady them on that end of the floor while they recovered offensively. I would not be surprised to see Moreland make the team. At the very minimum it seems certain that he'll get a training camp invite, much like the D-League Select's Trent Lockett did with us last year.
- Ray McCallum has a decent stop-and-pop midrange jumper. He needs to work on finishing at the rim though. He airballed a layup today that was point blank. He did have one take that would have been a highlight dunk if Tony Mitchell hadn't fouled him.
- Devin Ebanks belongs in the NBA, somewhere. He can play. I'd probably rather have him than Travis Outlaw right now.