Sacramento Kings rookie Ben McLemore’s shooting has been spotty and his ballhandling a bit sloppy in four NBA summer league games — all losses — in Las Vegas.
“That’s the whole reason why I’m here playing in the summer league, just to get better and work on some things,” the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Kansas University told reporters after Wednesday’s 38-point loss to Minnesota.
That’s a game in which the 6-foot-5 McLemore went 0-for-8 from the field, dropping his shooting percentage to 28 percent (16 of 57) entering today’s game against Atlanta.
“I know when I get back after summer league, I know there’s things I need to work on. Even the night before I got here, I knew there’s things I need to work on, my all around game, my ballhandling, stuff like that, touching up. The whole summer league is about getting a feel for the NBA life, getting to know the NBA style. That’s the whole reason I’m here,” McLemore added.
McLemore had three turnovers and no assists in the Minnesota blowout.
“I think as he improves his ballhandling and his ability to break down his man off the dribble, that’s going to open up a whole other facet of his game,” Kings’ coach Michael Malone told the Sacramento Bee. “He’s too athletic to settle for jump shots.”
McLemore has had one outstanding game in Vegas. He scored 26 points — 22 in the second half on 7-of-10 shooting — in a loss to Toronto.
“More importantly was Ben kind of emerged and did the things we know he can do (vs. Toronto). Not that that was a requirement, either, but it was nice to see it,” said Kings’ general manager Pete D’Alessandro.
Summer league may have served to lower expectations for McLemore a bit, which may not be a bad thing.
“It gives you something to look at,” Kings’ summer league coach Chris Jent said of summer league stats. “If nothing else, you look back at it and say, ‘What do I need to do? What are the good things I did?’ And as coaches, it allows you to help them more.”
Releford scoreless: Former KU guard Travis Releford did not take a shot, while totaling one assist, one rebound and two turnovers in Denver’s 95-78 loss to Toronto on Thursday in Vegas. He picked up four fouls while playing seven minutes.
Twins winning: Former KU power forward Markieff Morris scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while former KU small forward Marcus Morris had seven points and three boards in Phoenix’s 92-84 win over Portland on Thursday. Former KU forward Thomas Robinson had 14 points and 11 boards for Portland.
The Morris twins bought a house in Phoenix in March, the Arizona Republic reports. They practiced together twice a day at the Phoenix Suns’ U.S. Airways Center prior to the start of summer league.
Marcus had a rocky final month of the season after being traded from Houston to Phoenix to be reunited with Markieff. He was benched four games by interim coach Lindsey Hunter and played fewer than 10 minutes in five others.
“That was last year,” Marcus told azcentral.com. “You’ve got to keep it behind you. This year, I’ve been in Phoenix a lot, just working hard and getting my body right and getting in better shape. I’m happy that me and Keef actually played summer league, because it helps us go right into the season in good shape and we can keep building from here. I’ve been happy since I’ve been here. I’m just excited to see what the season brings. I think me and Keef are really going to change the team this season,” Marcus added.
Jackson hits for six: Former KU forward Darnell Jackson scored six points off 3-of-7 shooting and grabbed five rebounds while playing 17 minutes in the NBA D-League Select team’s 83-75 victory over Minnesota.
Deadline today: Order deadline for 2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets is today. Season tickets are available and all fans are eligible to order season tickets. For information click here or call the KU ticket office at 800-34-HAWKS.
Happy birthday to Ted: Former KU coach Ted Owens celebrated his 84th birthday on Tuesday in Tulsa, Okla.
Recruiting: Derrick Jones, a 6-6 junior forward from Bishop Carroll in Radnor, Pa., has been offered a scholarship by KU, ESPN reports. He also has received offers from Kentucky, Syracuse, Villanova, Maryland, Seton Hall, Temple and St. Joseph’s. He’s ranked 11th in the recruiting Class of 2015 by Rivals.com.