It doesn't really matter that the Sacramento Kings were playing the D-Fenders, not the Los Angeles Lakers, tonight, its always fun going south to Staples Center and coming out with a win. In a roller coaster season that Kings fans would like to forget as soon as possible, the Kings finished off the ride with an utter dismantling of the ruinous roster the Lakers currently call their own.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, their D-League roster went against basically the same squad of players that walked out of Las Vegas last year with the prestigious Summer League Championship. And you know what that means...
In a game mostly comprised of D-League player, you know the Summer League Champs are gonna run the court.— Greg Wissinger (@gwiss) April 16, 2015
The Kings got another big year-ending performance from Ben McLemore, whose 24 points on 18 shots, 5 rebounds and 7 assists paced the Kings. McLemore is now scoring 27 points per game on Game 82s he's played in his career. But really, this was a balanced effort where pretty much everyone played well. Seven Kings scored in double figures; Derrick Williams dropped a season-high 22, Ray McCallum added 19 and 6 assists, Nik Stauskas and Carl Landry added 14 each, and Jason Thompson and Ryan Hollins added 12 of their own. The Kings shot 54.8% from the field overall, 47.8% from three point range, dished out 30 total assists to only 10 turnovers. Every single King except Andre Miller (who only played two minutes) notched a positive in the +/- ledger. It was a fun offensive explosion from less heralded guys on the roster against a team that wasn't really interested in playing defense on the night.
One of those little-heralded guys was David Stockton, the Kings' newly inked "multiyear" deal. Stockton played some really fun minutes, adding five points and seven assists in only 19 minutes. He obviously has the pedigree, showing some real point guard smarts as he repeatedly fed the hot hand at the appropriate times with some pretty slick passing. Stockton is really undersized, but a scrappy defender who gets his hands in the passing lanes often. And its looking like he'll have a shot to make the team next year. Good luck kid!
Ultimately, it was a fun way to ride off into the sunset after a tumultuous year. Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins looked like they were having fun on the bench, there were plenty of highlight-reel plays from McLemore and Williams, and, hey, beating the Lakers is always great, regardless of who suits up for them. The Kings as an organization, from the players, coaches, to the front office, all have major work to do this offseason and it helps having a good taste in the mouth heading into it.
Well Kings fans, its been a frustrating season full of ups and downs, but its been a pleasure writing for you guys. My rookie season is coming to an end, and the whole experience has been terrific. Thanks to everyone who's stuck around; Kings fans are truly the best in the business, and Sactown Royalty is among the best fan communities around. We all deserve a winning season, and here's to hope springing eternal next year. See y'all around during the Playoffs and Draft time!