Find out how McLemore’s all-around performance drew rave reviews from Assistant Coach Brown. Plus, Gutierrez emerges as a defensive difference-maker.
As Kings No. 7 pick Ben McLemore showcased his quick release and smooth outside touch – connecting on countless jumpers inside Cox Pavilion during Wednesday’s practice in Las Vegas – newly-hired Director of Player Development and Assistant Coach Dee Brown grew increasingly more impressed.
“(McLemore’s) catch-and-shoot (game) is as good as anybody I’ve seen in 20 years,” said Brown. “And he’s a sponge – he’s learning. The game is coming fast to him right now, so he’s going a little fast on offense, but he’s picking up the defensive stuff … once he learns it, I think he can be an outstanding defender, too, just because of his length and his athleticism.”
Earlier in the day, the 1991 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion shared a laugh with the high-flying rookie, who learned of his coach’s memorable, “no-look” slam after watching an online clip.
“(Ben said), ‘I didn’t know that was you with the pump-up shoes!’” said the assistant coach chuckling. “I don’t think he was even born yet when I did it.
“I still can dunk a little bit, but trust me, not like (McLemore).”
Above all, Brown – who looks forward to helping Sacramento’s rookies develop, as well as working with the team’s veterans over the coming months – has been pleased with the draftees’ diligent work ethic.
“(Ben) works hard – same thing with Ray (McCallum),” he said. “Those two guys will pretty much be my babies for the whole year. (I’ll be) making sure we’re grooming them the right way – on and off the court – making sure they’re doing things the right way, and I think they have a bright future.”
– As the Kings continue to emphasize a defensive-oriented identity, Summer League invitee Jorge Gutierrez drew high praise from Head Coach Michael Malone.
“Jorge is a very tenacious defender, great competitor, Pac-12 Player of the Year a couple of years ago at Cal,” said the Kings leader. “He’s pushing Ray McCallum – getting into him, making Ray work – and he’s also doing a good job of running his team, like all good point guards do.”
The 6-foot-3 floor general averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals with the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League last season, displaying consistent effort and terrific awareness on both ends of the court.
“Defense has opened doors for me in a lot of places, so I think it might be my ticket,” said Gutierrez.
“It’s mainly what I do, but I just want to help the team. I think (if) we play hard against each other, we’ll improve as a team.”
– While Malone recognizes Kings players may be fatigued following three intense practices, the head coach expects a lively and energetic evening session.
“I think they’re all excited because I told them if we had a good practice (Wednesday) morning, (Wednesday night) would be a lot more playing with the referees, scrimmaging, getting up and down,” said Malone. “We’ve done so much drill work – which you need to when you’re putting in a new system, offensively and defensively – but (Wednesday night) will be great for us as a staff and for the players.”
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