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  • Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

    Kings rookie point guard Ray McCallum (3), driving against the Mavericks' Josh Akognon, drew praise from coach Chris Jent.

  • Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

    Kings rookie shooting guard Ben McLemore needs to work on his shot selection, Jent said.

  • Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

    Ray McCallum impressed Kings summer league coach Chris Jent. "(McCallum) did a nice job of finding that tempo, did a good job defensively. … It's obvious he's played point guard for a long time."

Kings rookies have mixed results to open summer league

Published: Sunday, Jul. 14, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013 - 7:02 pm

LAS VEGAS – Summer league games aren't about wins for most teams.

But there still are moments when a coach's heart might beat a little faster.

Just ask Kings summer league coach Chris Jent what he thought when guard Ben McLemore fell clutching his left knee and grimacing with pain at the end of the first quarter Saturday afternoon.

"It is scary," Jent said.

A Dallas Mavericks player fell into McLemore's leg, but the first-round draft pick was fine and continued playing.

With a serious injury averted, the Kings will go back to preparing McLemore and second-round pick Ray McCallum for their NBA careers.

The Kings lost their summer league opener to Dallas 76-73 at Cox Pavilion.

McLemore was left with a lot to learn. He made only 4 of 23 shots, including 1 of 11 three-point attempts, and finished with 11 points. In the second half, he sank only 1 of 10 shots.

"It was the first game," McLemore said after declaring his knee was fine. "I'll just look at the film, learn from that and come back and try to get a win."

Jent was not overly concerned about the shooting numbers. The focus remains on knowing which shots to take.

"He's just got to take good shots," Jent said. "When he's open, he's got to knock shots down. He had a tough day, but he's got to pick his head up (today). Fortunately, we get back in the gym, shoot some shots and learn from it. We're here to learn, get better, and he's no exception to that."

McLemore said after the game that shooting from the NBA three-point line as opposed to the college line wasn't an issue. He just never got into a good shooting rhythm.

Jent said the change in the three-point line can be a challenge, but growing pains are expected with rookies.

"The basketball has a totally different feel. The line has a totally different feel," Jent said. "The worst thing you can do in this situation is look for the line. Just shoot your shot; that's the most important thing. It's certainly a learning process. He played one year of college basketball, and now he's learning to become an NBA player, and it's all a process."

McLemore officially signed his rookie contract Saturday, the Kings announced. Terms were not disclosed, but based on the collective bargaining agreement, the seventh overall pick is due about $2.4 million in his first season. All deals for first-round picks are for four years with team options for the final two years.

As for McCallum, he also scored 11 points, making 3 of 11 shots. He had eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks and appeared composed most of the game.

"(McCallum) did a nice job of finding that tempo, did a good job defensively," Jent said. "He's got great poise out there. It's obvious he's played point guard for a long time."

In attendance was the Kings' front office staff, including general manager Pete D'Alessandro, assistant general manager Mike Bratz and director of player personnel Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

Also at the game were principal owner Vivek Ranadive, consultant Chris Mullin, guard Marcus Thornton and forward Jason Thompson. Thompson's brother, Ryan, plays for Washington in the summer league.

Thornton said he hadn't spoken with coach Michael Malone, for whom he played in New Orleans, and was just in town to support the team and the franchise's new leadership.

"To have the stability we have now, knowing we're not going anywhere for a while, we can just focus on basketball now and not worry about the outside stuff," Thornton said. "That's going to be great for us."

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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