Ray McCallum Has His Shot with Darren Collison Out


In his rookie year, Ray McCallum didn’t see much playing time for the Sacramento Kings, a total of 897 minutes to be exact, and it wasn’t until February of 2014 that McCallum saw consistent time and until Isaiah Thomas‘ injury that he got a chance to be the starting point guard. It’s funny how history has a way of repeating itself, as the Kings reported today that Darren Collison is out with a hip injury that will require surgery.

As a starter for the Kings in 2013-14, he averaged just under 14 points, more than seven assists and three rebounds per game. McCallum showed some efficiency as a starter, and his per-36 last season showed the same, as he averaged 11 points, almost five assists and three rebounds for Sacramento.

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This season, McCallum has a per-36 that looks eerily similar to that of last season’s with 11 points, four assists and just under five rebounds. The biggest improvement for McCallum, though, has been his ability to score, boosting his shooting percentage from 37.7 percent in 2013-14 to .42.2 percent this year and his true shooting percentage from 43.9 percent to 47.7 percent.

But a pair of percentages to look at are Ray’s shooting percentages when he’s starting this year, compared to as a bench player. It’s a small sample size, but it could essentially lead to McCallum seeing even more time, as he and Andre Miller battle for time. His percentage as a starter is 47.6 percent while his shooting percentage off the bench was 41.5 percent.

Miller could be key to McCallum’s improvement and his advancement into potentially playing for the Kings’ top point guard spot. Miller is a 15-year veteran who has played in the postseason for four different teams in 10 of those 15 years.

When the Kings traded for Miller, there were instant thoughts about him becoming an assistant for Sacramento at the end of this season. The reasoning behind this is his understanding of the game. While he hasn’t been mentioned much as a top-tier point guard, he’s been a proven winner, and has started for proven winners.

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McCallum, 23, is on the opposite spectrum of Miller, 38, in regards to their career, but the similarities are there, from their stature to their will to be rebounding point guards. Miller has a veteran prowess to him now, and that could result in helping McCallum take the next steps he needs to develop into a prime guard, as long as he can make the most of his shot he has for these next 20-plus games.

Turnovers are one key that McCallum has to work on. As a starter this season, in about 24 minutes per game, McCallum has a four to 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio, and his turnover percentage has gone from 10.9 percent last season to 16.8 percent this season.

As stated above, McCallum is sure to share minutes with Miller, who the Kings just traded for before the break, and Miller’s put up some solid numbers for the Kings in limited minutes. In three games with the Kings, Miller is averaging five points, almost five assists and just under four rebounds in about 24 minutes per game.

Karl understands that McCallum could be a point guard of the future for the Kings and that Miller is on his last leg, but don’t expect Miller to give any of his minutes to McCallum. McCallum is going to have to work in practice and go up against a savvy vet.

With every practice and every scrimmage, McCallum can show that he has the ability to become a leader, but it’s up to him to prove it and the time is now.

Next: David Stockton to Sign 10-Day Contract with Kings