Gain insight into McLemore’s first practice in Las Vegas. Plus, Coach Malone dishes on his objective for the team as it prepares for its Summer League debut.
Alongside their new teammates and coaches, Kings rookies Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum anxiously boarded the team bus on a scorching Tuesday morning in Las Vegas, eager for the start of mini-camp.
“I’m really excited for my first practice with the Kings,” said No. 3 beaming. “We’re getting things started for Summer League right here today.”
The enthusiasm continued upon arrival at Thomas & Mack Center, where the pair of Sacramento draftees stepped on the hardwood for the first time with their teammates.
“It’s good to be getting up and down (the court) again,” said McLemore afterward with a wide smile on his face. “I’m definitely happy and excited.”
“It’s fun to actually get back on the team, have a team mindset and a goal to accomplish,” added McCallum. “(We’ll) try to come out here and win and to the best we can.”
In the first of the day’s two practices, Sacramento’s coaching staff focused on implementing defensive principles and emphasizing communication on both ends of the court.
“This is a whole new defensive system, terminology (and) philosophy, and they were focused and gave great effort,” said Kings Head Coach Michael Malone. “We got better today, which is a great step in the right direction.”
Rather than focus on the team’s record during its upcoming slate of Summer League games – beginning July 13 against Dallas – Malone aims to implement a defensive-oriented mindset.
“More importantly for me – and I told them last night in our meeting – this is our first opportunity to show the NBA who the new Sacramento Kings are going to be,” said the Kings leader. “(It’s a) great opportunity for us to establish our identity and show everybody else that things have changed in Sacramento. We will defend, will play unselfish basketball, we will talk on the floor, will give great multiple effort every night.”
While McLemore admitted learning new sets in his first practice was as challenging as he expected, the versatile guard is committed to making an immediate defensive impact as he gains more experience.
“Coach Malone definitely stressed (defense from) the day we got here,” said No. 16. “I definitely want to bring a part of that, especially with my athleticism and my skill set. I definitely think I can bring a lot to the table.”
McCallum echoed a similar sentiment, explaining a studious approach over the course of the summer will help prepare the team’s first-year players for training camp and the regular season.
“Getting the work in with (Coach Malone) now … is going to be good for Ben and me,” said Detroit product. “Going in and having an understanding of the concepts and how he wants to play the game will be big for us.”
– In addition to working on spacing and rotations, McCallum – who improved his field goal percentage in each of his three collegiate seasons – fine-tuned his jumpshot in a post-practice one-on-one session with Malone.
“I’m just trying to become a better shooter – that’s an area I’m trying to grow in every day,” said the second-round pick. “Getting extra work is always the key, so Coach Malone pulled me to the side and did some work on my shot.”
– Check out the 2013 Kings Summer League Team roster and schedule – Click Here. Plus, find out how to watch every Summer League game – including the first-ever championship contest: http://on.nba.com/172RwKO