The duel in the desert has concluded for the Summer Kings, as their tenure at the Las Vegas Summer League ended on Saturday night with a 92-81 victory against the Houston Rockets. Although they won’t be repeating their championship from Thomas and Mack Center this Sunday, the Sacramento Kings have undoubtedly been dubbed the darlings of this NBA moment in thrilling contests the entire week long.
Sacramento did in fact see the likes of No. 3 overall pick Jabari Smith Jr. in tonight’s contest, despite the Kings choosing not to play Murray and Summer League standout sophomore Neemias Queta.
Smith was bouncy and explosive in moments, powering the Rockets through strong offensive and defensive spurts. The Summer Kings hit their stride in this contest, shooting well beyond the arc and were led by DJ Steward and Matt Coleman.
Summer Kings open the matchup against the Rockets with FIVE straight triples pic.twitter.com/BNdfIhCpaJ— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) July 17, 2022
Having been on this Summer League journey since the beginning of the month, both the California Classic and the Association’s larger tournament proved to be a successful outing for Sacramento and their illustrious roster of offseason talent.
Above all else was the revelation amongst the Kingdom and hoop fans at large that No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray’s movement is more than a moment, and has staked serious claim as a dominant force in this year’s rookie class.
Through four games played in Las Vegas, Murray averaged 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists on 50/40/81 shooting splits. Splitting the victories 2-2 in his dominant outings, Murray’s late-game heroics against the Orlando Magic and again playing the Indiana Pacers were dubbed the most fun games in the history of the tournament.
The Murray Magic in both contests erased double-digit deficits in the final minutes of action, resulting in double overtime and sudden death against former Stockton product Emanuel Terry.
Murray’s game has been thrilling to watch. His quiet enthusiasm and even-keeled demeanor in the most electric of moments gives flashes of professionalism that the 21-year-old will be bringing into the Association.
Several aspects of his game can and should translate into regular season play, including the subtle stroke on offense that allowed for his double-double through three quarters against the Phoenix Suns on July 15.
Going head-to-head with the likes of Paulo Banchero and Chet Holmgren was a pleasure to watch as the young stars in this league twinkle brighter than the lights of the Vegas strip. Entertaining and efficient, Murray has carved out a serious case for the Most Valuable Player in this tournament.