The San Antonio Spurs list 18 players on the roster heading into training camp, and Air Alamo will break down each of the current players, their strengths, weaknesses, chances to make the roster and expectations for the 2015-16 NBA season.
Joining the countdown after Jimmer Fredette, Matt Bonner and Kyle Anderson is someone who the Spurs acquired during the offseason: Ray McCallum.
Who Is He?
The son of a coach, McCallum starred at Detroit-Mercy. The point guard averaged more than 33 minutes per game in each of his three collegiate seasons and led the Titans to a pair of NCAA tournament berths.
After tallying 18.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals in 2012-13, McCallum was named the Horizon League Player of the Year. He then declared early, and the Sacramento Kings selected McCallum 36th overall in the 2013 NBA draft.
McCallum spent two years in Sacramento, contributing mostly as a semi-regular rotational piece. But when Darren Collison sustained a season-ending injury last seasonr, McCallum stepped into the starting lineup for 30 games and recorded 11.2 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds.
The Kings signed Rajon Rondo during the offseason, which certainly affected McCallum’s availability on the trade market. San Antonio snagged him in exchange for a 2016 second-round pick.
Strengths and Weaknesses
As of now, McCallum doesn’t have any elite offensive skills. The 24-year-old is a modest three-point shooter and a decent passer. With that being said, his preferred style perfectly meshes with what San Antonio employs.
Ray McCallum Jr has been running a pro-style pick-and-roll offense since his freshman year at Detroit. He should be a tremendous fit in SA.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) July 9, 2015
In an admittedly smaller sample, McCallum registered a similar turnover percentage to Tony Parker as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll sets, per NBA.com. On the other hand, McCallum’s efficiency was no better than average—yet perfectly on par with Manu Ginobili.
Defensive, though, is the potentially appealing part of McCallum’s game. Bleacher Report’s Sim Risso notes former Kings coach Mike Malone called McCallum “one of our best perimeter defenders.”
But entering 2015-16, McCallum isn’t on the same level as since-departed guard Cory Joseph. McCallum offers consistent effort, so there’s realistic hope he can become an above-average defender with San Antonio.
What to Expect in 2015-16
While McCallum hasn’t shown the ability to lead an offense, he played reasonably well with Sacramento as a spot-starter. That’s exactly what the Spurs will ask of McCallum, who is the insurance policy for an injury-prone and aging Tony Parker.
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At the beginning of the season, however—assuming full health in the backcourt—McCallum probably won’t be a major part of the rotation. Parker, Danny Green, Ginobili and Patty Mills will handle most of the playing time.
McCallum will fill Joseph’s role, which basically provided somewhere between three and 10 minutes per night as long as the aforementioned quartet is available. Otherwise, McCallum will step into the lineup when Parker takes a night off—or is injured.
San Antonio can keep McCallum out of the spotlight while developing the third-year pro to determine whether or not he has a future running the point.