Kings say they are still behind McLemore


VIDEO: Ben McLemore scored 11 points as the Kings beat the Bulls

LAS VEGAS – Here’s a statement. Two of them actually, packaged into one big picture: Ben McLemore, the shooting guard the Kings drafted in the lottery in 2013, insisted he didn’t read too much into it when the Kings used another lottery pick on another shooting guard in the 2014 draft, and team officials, naturally, say they remain committed as ever to McLemore’s future in Sacramento.

It’s all good, right? McLemore came to summer league with the proper attitude, if pressing at first, and followed that up by playing well, making 52.2 percent of his attempts and averaging 14.6 points in five games as a major part of the Kings reaching the Sunday evening semifinals of the tournament format at Thomas & Mack Center, which¬†concludes Monday. He is doing a lot of the right things and saying all the right things.

But, look. There’s Nik Stauskas.

The Kings just drafted someone who plays the same position, a year after being overjoyed to get McLemore in 2013, complete with the emotional bends of trying hard to trade up to get him, finding no deal, and then having the Kansas product fall to their laps at No. 7.

The Kings made it a priority this offseason to add perimeter shooting, and that is Stauskas’ specialty, the primary appeal to taking him at No. 8 as part of a portfolio that also includes being able to handle the ball well enough to project as a secondary playmaker and the experience in pressure situations of one run to the national-title game at Michigan and another to the Elite Eight.

In the singular moment, with Stauskas surrounded in positives, the Kings had a good 2014 draft. It’s just that it may also become a new perspective on the direction of their 2013 draft. That is the other statement.

“I told him,” coach Michael Malone said of McLemore, ” ‘Listen, we drafted Nik Stauskas. That’s not any slight on you. We still believe in you. You’re still our guy and we still expect great things from you from Year 1 to Year 2.’ I think he came out to Summer League after one year in the NBA thinking he had to score 20 points a game. It’s not about that. It’s playing the right way as we try to instill more ball movement.”

Playing the first couple games like someone hearing footsteps, although saying he didn’t have a problem with the Stauskas pick, McLemore responded by scoring 18, 22 and 11 points the next three outings while shooting 64.3 percent and adding six rebounds on two occasions. Stauskas has also had a good summer, at 48.6 percent from the field in five outings, 57.1 percent from behind the arc, and 10.4 points.

Their play has been a key factor in the Kings reaching the semifinals against the Wizards. The winner of that game faces the winner of Hornets-Rockets on Monday night for the title.

8 Comments

  1. vonhulland says:

    I have no idea why the Kings want someone who plays when he wants to play! Look at the finals for the kings in Las Vegas. For almost 4 quarters he played like he did not know what he was doing. Fell down, turned ball over, fouled and the coach just watched and left him in. At the end of the fourth he decided he maybe could do something but look at all the minutes he played and did nothing! You came so close to losing……..

  2. Anyone see the NBA.COM power rankings. Someone really loves Steve Kerr and golden state. 5th best team in the league next year. Let’s see, better than Houston, better than Portland, Indy, Miami, Washington, Cleveland or Chicago. They fire Mark Jackson, and all of a sudden they get better. Didn’t they lose in the first round of the playoffs? Does mark Jackson get any credit at all for their turnaround, gee? Here’s my prediction, Golden State will miss Jackson as Kerr learns on the fly and will battle for the final playoff spot, they will not win 50 games. Houston will be a much better team without Lin and Chandler.

  3. JBR says:

    For the sake of keeping up with the conversation, I just wanted to say… “Josh Smith”.

    That’s all.

  4. Deuce says:

    How does Josh come up in the conversation about Ben?

  5. Roger Goodell says:

    Josh Smith is a cancer.

  6. GT says:

    The Pistons want too much for Josh Smith.

  7. harrythehawk says:

    He is part of the leverage for Rondo. And J Smoove will end up there too.

    • DenH says:

      rondo, smith and gay are all good friends and have wanted to play together for years, the only way they get rondo to resign in sacramento is by having all those guys there, unfortunately for sac fans, it will probably cost them mclemore or stauskas… maybe even both.