Kings GM End-of-Season Q&A Part 4
In the last of a four-part series, Pete D'Alessandro discusses his offseason plans for Rudy and Isaiah, plus reflects on the play of DeMarcus and Ben.
How would you assess Ben McLemore’s rookie year?
“I think Ben had a very common rookie year. His performance is something we see a lot from guys like him. I think we saw it early on and he stepped up quickly and played well, hit somewhat of a wall and now you see later on he’s getting there. If you took the beginning and end of this season and put them together, you’d look at him and go, ‘Hey, those are pretty decent looking numbers.’ I think it’s common when you have a young guy who’s played a year of college and steps into that starting position. It’s a lot to ask. We have three high-scoring pieces on a team. How do you step up and be that fourth guy? It’s tough.
“I’ve said this from the beginning of the year, the guy works like no other young guy works. He and Ray together, I really give them a lot of credit for their work ethic. If you have talent, athleticism, and that work ethic – which he does – I think it’s a recipe for success. I really look forward to what has yet to come for him. I’ve been very happy with Ben. I’ve said it all year long, and I stand by it.”
How would you assess the play of our Big 3?
“I think DeMarcus speaks for himself. His play exceeded my expectations, and I thought the world of him when I walked in the door.
“I think Isaiah always believed he could play like this, but I don’t think anyone else did. Now, they do. I give him all the credit for being able to do what he did. It was hard for him, too – we traded for a point guard. I talked about that right up front, and Isaiah consistently showed up every game.
“We did our analysis of Rudy before we did our deal. Rudy is exactly what I expected, which has been nothing short of great. We see him as a very consistent, top-level player.
“I’m very happy with all three of them.”
How would you characterize your goals with Rudy and Isaiah this summer?
“Our fans know – I think we’ve been very clear about how we feel about their level of talent. I would say with Rudy, I’ve been talking to his agent since the day he arrived. We didn’t trade him to have him for a year, so we’re going to continue meeting with Rudy. One of the things we thought when we did the deal (to acquire) Rudy was it gives him a real chance to not just know our front office, but to know our community. I think he’s really impressed by the community in many ways – because our community really is impressive. One of the proudest moments for me this season, as a general manager, was when he, Aaron and Quincy came walking down the stands when they first arrived and everyone was just cheering. You could see it on their faces, and I think it makes you proud to be a part of a community that supports a team like that. He’s getting to know us from that level, so I think it’s really important.
“At the end of the day, this is a business. A decision needs to be made, and there’s a lot involved, but we’ve made no mistake about it with him, and he knows what our intent is with him.
“With Isaiah, he’s had an incredible year. He’ll be facing restricted free agency this offseason, and he’s just been so good this year. The way he is with our fans and with his teammates, we just think the world of him.
"Again, this is a business decision that these men have to make in this League, and we’re going to engage Isaiah’s agents as well. We look forward to making this team better.”