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Victory in Vegas: How the Kings were able to have a dominant Summer League

A group effort on the defensive end led the Kings to their second Summer League championship.

The Summer Sacramento Kings ended their run in championship fashion on Tuesday night, routing the Boston Celtics 100-67 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

A statement in their win was the defense that No. 9 overall pick Davion Mitchell played on Boston’s sophomore standout Payton Pritchard. In the time that Mitchell guarded Pritchard, he held him to just 4 points. In the games leading up to the tournament’s finale, Pritchard averaged 20.3 points per game.

Defense was clearly the genesis of the Kings’ time in Vegas. In what will probably be known as one of the biggest highlights from this year’s tourney, Davion Mitchell put the clamps on Charlotte Hornets’ rookie James Bouknight. The tenacity displayed by Mitchell in the early minutes of the tournament proved to be a trend throughout the next five games.

Behind Summer League Co-MVP Davion Mitchell was a cast of highly effective scorers and play-makers, particularly Jamhi’us Ramsey. The tournament served as a launching pad for the sophomore guard, who averaged 16.2 points through five games and led the team in scoring against Memphis.

Chimezie Metu also brought an offensive flare to the Kings that they were missing during the California Classic. It was no coincidence that things started to gel more with the Kings once Metu joined the roster following his Olympic debut with Team Nigeria.

Then there was the all-around effort from the rest of the Summer Kings roster. Emanuel Terry and Louis King matched Davion Mitchell’s defensive tenacity in the final game vs. Boston, both nabbing 5 steals each. The Kings were able to leave a defensive stamp on this tournament, which deeply contrasted what the team was unable to do in the 2020-21 season with the worst ranked defense in NBA history.

This is an opportunity for regular season translation. Davion Mitchell clearly brings out the clamps in teammates and plays with a bulldog toughness that will match nicely with the likes of teammates like Richaun Holmes.

All-in-all, the Summer Kings showed promise. It was nice to see the decisions of general manager Monte McNair coming to fruition in real time, rather than just trusting the process. This tournament should leave Kings fans feeling hopeful for what is to come this fall.