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  • Ben McLemore

  • Ray McCallum

Kings' McLemore shows versatility

Published: Saturday, Jul. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 21, 2013 - 10:37 am

LAS VEGAS – Ben McLemore seems to take everything in stride.

The bad shooting nights are no big deal. Neither was his second-half outburst in the Kings' summer league finale.

McLemore shook off another sluggish start to score 23 of his game-high 27 points in the second half of a 93-87 win over Atlanta.

It was the Kings' first win of the summer after four consecutive losses.

The Kings, however, know the guard can score in bunches. It's the other areas of his game where the coaching staff wants to see improvement entering training camp.

So it wasn't the scoring that pleased coach Michael Malone the most. It was the nine rebounds the first-round pick from Kansas grabbed.

"(Friday) showed Ben is not just a shooter – he's an all-around basketball player," Malone said. "If your jump shot's not going, you've got to find different ways to affect the game, and he did that (Friday)."

Summer league has been more about learning than game results for McLemore and second-round pick Ray McCallum.

McLemore has learned improving his ballhandling must be a priority. McCallum, a guard, learned he can't get to the rim and finish as easily as he did at the University of Detroit Mercy.

McLemore wasn't discouraged by his struggles with ball security (18 turnovers) or shooting (26 of 78, 33.3 percent) in summer league. He said it's all part of his learning curve.

"You have so much more space than in college," McLemore said, referring to the farther three-point line in the NBA. "It's just more open for me, and I have to get used to it. I'm going to get used to it. It's summer league, and I'm here to get better each and every day."

McLemore shot 8 of 12 in the second half to finish 10 of 21. Friday was just the second time McLemore scored at least 20 points. McCallum had 12 points and 11 assists against the Hawks.

McCallum was reminded early on when rookie 7-footer Lucas Nogueira forcefully swatted a layup attempt that he'll have to learn to finish around the basket better.

"I'm going to work on different finishing moves when I get home," McCallum said. "I'm going to have to work on cleaning up my midrange game, my outside shooting, just work on different finishes around the rim. That's something I definitely will be taking very serious over the next couple months."

Malone has been impressed with McCallum's floor presence and leadership but wants the rookie to put more arc on his jump shot and finish better around the basket.

"He's got to get his shot up higher, give it more of a chance to go in," Malone said. "And he also has to develop more of a midrange game. He has to develop a floater. He has to develop a midrange pull-up, which is a dying art, obviously."

Summer league coach Chris Jent said the five games gave the rookies plenty to study before training camp begins Oct. 2.

"We've been doing that through the course of the week," Jent said. "(We're) trying to use this opportunity to not only to show them film but to build a relationship, get to know them so they get to know us, and moving forward it's easier."

Malone hoped the rookies would have a better understanding of what's required individually and of the team before training camp. After five games he believes both are on the right track.

"Both of those guys are willing to work and do whatever it takes to improve," Malone said. "That's the exciting thing. They're ready, willing and able."

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

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