NBA: Sacramento’s McCants wants to fit in … somewhere
By Sam Amick
NEW YORK ó This was a must for Rashad McCants.
An absolute must.
Thirty points against a competitive Charlotte team Wednesday, a reminder to the NBA – never mind just his team, the Sacramento Kings – that he can score with a finesse and ferocity that simply isn’t the norm for periphery players in this league. Such is the story of the free-agent-to-be, the enigmatic new Kings shooting guard whose talents are tantalizing again and will have some front-office types pondering perplexing questions this summer.
Do you take on a potent player whose name so often inspires discussions of a complex personality and instability among those in the league? Or do you rewind the video playback machine and let his latest game convince you to take a chance?
Those, by the way, were McCants’ words.
“You never know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got a month to prove to teams that they should take a chance on me,” McCants said.
At least one of McCants’ colleagues thinks he’s worth the risk. Sean May, the Bobcats big man whose three seasons with McCants at North Carolina culminated with a national title in 2005, said McCants could flourish in the right setting.
And Minnesota, where McCants played for his first three-plus seasons before he was traded to Sacramento last month, clearly wasn’t that place.
“Minnesota was a young team,” May said. “When Kevin (Garnett) was there, I think it was a little bit better for Rashad. Once Kevin left, the locker room struggled.”
No one more than McCants, whose playing time was almost nil in his final month and a half with the struggling Timberwolves. May acknowledged McCants’ reputation as “standoffish,” but believes his old teammate would earn and make the most of playing time in the right spot.
“I played with him for three years in college, and that’s a guy I always want in my foxhole,” he said. “The guy fights. He competes. Does he get involved with teammates as (much) as others? Probably not. But with Rashad, you just have to know him. He’s a little standoffish. He kind of does his own thing. But that’s fine. The one thing he does is he plays. And he plays hard.”
McCants started against the Bobcats because of the absence of Kings shooting guard Kevin Martin, who was out with a virus.
While McCants’ defense is the largest looming question about his play, he received praise from Kings interim coach Kenny Natt for his effort against Charlotte.
“Sometimes people question his ability on defense,” May said. “But in this league, if you can score the basketball, you’re going to be fine. That’s one thing he can do. (Wednesday), he scored 30 and it was effortless. The kid has one of the most pure shots I’ve ever seen. He just works, and he plays. And I’m sure that whether it’s in Sacramento or somewhere else, somebody is going to give him a look because he can help the team.”
Which, of course, is all McCants wants to do next season.