Apr 15, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guardRay McCallum
(3) chases after the ball with Los Angeles Lakers centerJordan Hill
(27) in the first half during the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Remember Cory Joseph? He signed a four-year, $30 million contract with the Toronto Raptors in the offseason. The Spurs traded a future second-round pick to Sacramento for Ray McCallum. The 24-year old will take on Joseph’s role. Both players are not only similar in the way they play, but they are both 6’3, 190-pounds.
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The Spurs made headlines when they signed LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, for good reason. The McCallum trade went under-the-radar for that reason. Instead of committing to Joseph for a large amount of money, the Spurs got a player nearly as talented without the hefty price tag.
McCallum won’t have the role he had with the Kings as a backup that plays significant minutes. McCallum averaged 7.4 points and 2.8 assists on the season, but when Darren Collison went down with a core muscle injury he became the starter. McCallum averaged 11.2 points and 4.3 assists in 30 starts.
The Spurs not only lost Joseph, but they also lost Marco Belinelli. The Spurs currently have two guards locked in for minutes off the bench in Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili. It’s possible that the Spurs use a three guard lineup at times with McCallum on the ball. Mills and Ginobili are light years ahead of McCallum (31% threes) in terms of shooting, which means he has to set them up. It certainly helps that McCallum is at his best when attacking the basket.
Coach Gregg Popovich tends to sit his older players like Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Ginobili, which means McCallum have some opportunities. It wouldn’t surprise me if McCallum gets some DNP’s (Did Not Play) along the way, but then when Parker misses, he fills in as a starter.
Kyle Anderson‘s improvement can hurt McCallum’s chances of logging significant minutes off the bench. Anderson can play point guard at times and small forward. The 6″9 point-forward won Summer League MVP and led the Spurs to a title win.
McCallum will be ready when his number is called, but he must remain patient.