Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Sacramento Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore (16) scores a basket against the Los Angeles Clippers during their game at Sleep Train Arena on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Sacramento.

Kings notes: McLemore still figuring out his dunk moves

Published: Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 - 8:37 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 - 11:26 pm

Ben McLemore has one week to figure out what he can do to impress in the Slam Dunk Contest during NBA All-Star Weekend.

McLemore hasn’t settled on just how to do that yet.

“I’m still trying to figure out different things I want to do,” McLemore said.

McLemore is the first King in the contest since Gerald Wallace in 2002, but the format will be much different.

There will be teams representing the Eastern and Western conferences. McLemore will be joined by Portland’s Damian Lillard and Golden State’s Harrison Barnes.

The competition will begin with the Freestyle Round, when the dunkers for each conference will have 90 seconds to perform as many dunks as they want.

After the Freestyle Round, the panel of judges will choose the winning team.

The winning conference decides if it wants go first or second in the Battle Round with head-to-head matchups of East dunkers vs. West.

Judges will choose the winner of the battle, with the loser eliminated from the competition. The first team to win three battles will be named champion.

The collaborative method will require planning.

“We’ll see once I get to New Orleans what Dame and Harrison are thinking of and coordinate with each other and try to go out there and win,” McLemore said.

Kings coach Michael Malone expects McLemore will make the most of his time in New Orleans and gain any knowledge he can from other players.

“He’s the lone representative for the Kings down there and we’d love for him to be a participant in the Rising Stars Challenge,” Malone said. “But he’s an unbelievable athlete, and he’ll have a chance to showcase his skills, his athleticism.”

McLemore was passed up as an injury replacement in the Rising Stars Challenge, which features the best first- and second-year players.

Phoenix big man Miles Plumlee was picked to replace Atlanta’s Pero Antic.

McLemore said he’s still excited to be a part of the weekend, even if he’s not in the Rising Stars Challenge.

“This is a great opportunity for me to build my brand, going out there for All-Star and also representing the Sacramento Kings,” McLemore said. “I’ve just been trying to do what’s best to represent me and the Sacramento Kings.”

Feeling ill – Rudy Gay was the latest King to miss a game because of illness Friday when the Kings lost to the Boston Celtics 99-89 at TD Garden.

Assistant coach Corliss Williamson, Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas have all been sick since Jan. 26, when Williamson had to miss two games.

Thomas became ill and could not finish a Jan. 27 game at Utah.

Fredette missed last Saturday’s game at San Antonio because of illness.

“I think Corliss is the guy spreading it,” Malone said jokingly. “I’m not sure. I thought we’d gotten over that.”

Late change – The Kings planned to start McLemore at shooting guard for Marcus Thornton (right hip contusion) but went with Travis Outlaw after Boston started a bigger player, Gerald Wallace, at guard for Avery Bradley (ankle).

The Celtics were also without Rajon Rondo (rest).

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

Read more articles by Jason Jones

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