In one of the best showings for the Sacramento Kings’ young, inexperienced core, guards Nik Stauskas and Ben McLemore combined for 33 points to beat the D-League select team 89-75.
It was an inefficient start for the Kings, as the team combined to shoot 25 percent from the field through the first and into the early stages of the second quarter. Forcing up bad looks and forgoing easy opportunities, Sacramento’s shooters needed someone to bring the game within contention. Quincy Acy did so.
He carried the Kings and kept the team afloat, challenging the select team’s defense to get himself to the free-throw line consistently, where he went 6-of-7. Often times Acy puts together a performance without mistakes or hesitation, but this was much more. He showed an ability to lead his team. This showing from Acy was not just good, it was thoroughly impressive, and will be taken into account by Michael Malone and the Kings coaching staff. Acy finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Ray McCallum also seemed to elevate his game, consistently picking his way through defenses to find shooters and spread the floor. As a point guard, his specialty seems to be understanding his shooters and putting them in the best position for success. He hit Stauskas and McLemore for easy catch-and-shoot opportunities, and both guards capitalized throughout. Finishing with 10 points and 12 assists, McCallum meshed well with his surrounding guards.
In fact, Sacramento’s young core of guards all flashed mature performances. Stauskas and McLemore complimented each other to near-perfection while floating around the three-point line and waiting for open opportunities created by McCallum. If the backcourt continues this type of play, the regular season will bring the Kings a new level of youth and shooting prowess.
Even more impressive was McLemore’s aggressive, yet smart approach to the matchup. Not waiting with the ball or dribbling without a purpose, he was vastly more efficient than his usual performances. He shot 70 percent from the field, making a transition three-pointer and staying smart in all aspects of the game, while giving the Kings 18 points.
Derrick Williams had a positive 26 minutes in this match-up, capitalizing on every transition opportunity with force. He was athletic and determined in his fastbreaks, a clear factor in his 60 percent shooting for the game; he even gelled nicely with Stauskas for stretches of the game. It seems as if all these young, up-and-coming Kings players have already found great rhythm, which Malone will surely seek to capitalize upon.
Sim Bhullar, the Kings’ most recent rookie signing, saw one minute of action in the contest and grabbed one rebound.
At times in the early portions of the game, Sacramento had trouble containing Devin Ebanks, who had 22 points in just 24 minutes of play. He has impressed clubs with his play throughout Summer League, and he gave the Kings problems with a constant offensive attack.
Ultimately, though, the Kings’ young guards played well enough to secure a comfortable margin of victory for the team in Las Vegas.