As teams begin sending young players to their to NBA Development League clubs, guard Ray McCallum waits for his call to play for the Kings’ affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.
The D-League season begins Friday.
“Ray will definitely be down at Reno at some point,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “I think what happens to a lot of NBA players, young guys, they view that as a demotion. My thing to Ray is you haven’t played a game since Oct. 13 when we played the Clippers in the preseason. This is great for you. Go down and get as many minutes as you can under your belt.”
McCallum was the Kings’ second-round pick in June’s draft, but is the only healthy player that hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game.
Having gone more than a month since game action, McCallum’s work has been limited to practice and study of veterans Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas.
McCallum said he’d be ready to play for Reno.
“I’ve just got to do what’s best for the team,” McCallum said. “I haven’t played in a while, and if that’s the decision that they make that’s what I have to do. Just continue to work hard and if I go down there, go down there with the mindset to get better and show everybody I can play and everything I can do.”
The Kings are high on McCallum’s potential but don’t have much to offer him in terms of playing time behind Thomas and Vasquez.
McCallum said going this long between games is new to him.
“This is the longest I’ve gone without playing, but this is life in the NBA,” McCallum said. “This is just something you have to deal with sometimes as a young player. You just stay ready because you never know when your name might be called.”
Malone believes McCallum will learn from playing against seasoned players, some of whom have NBA experience, that are playing in the D-League. “You’re not a D-League player, you’re an NBA player that’s getting experience playing against older guys,” Malone said was part of his message. “He’ll go down there at some point. I’m not exactly sure when, but we’ll use Reno for Ray’s development this year.”
Bledsoe said he’s noticed Cousins is doing better in one area that isn’t measured by statistics.
“I think he’s doing a great job controlling his temper a little bit,” Bledsoe said.
Cousins has two technical fouls this season. The first was for taunting and the second Cousins expects will be rescinded by the league after review.
Cousins led the NBA in technical fouls last season.