SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The phone call came Thursday and David Stockton needed some reassuring that a life-long dream had just come true.
“The (Sacramento) Kings called my agent, my agent calls me and he has an upbeat tone,” Stockton said. “I’m like, ‘What’s going on here?’ He tells me I got called up. I said, ‘Get out of here, you’re joking.’ He said, ‘You leave tonight.’
“I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
Stockton, son of Hall of Famer John Stockton, has been in numerous NBA arenas and he’s played in several as a member of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, so he wasn’t goggle-eyed over his first time inside Sleep Train Arena. His NBA debut will have to wait as he watched from the bench Friday in the Kings’ 109-101 victory over Boston in new coach George Karl’s first game.
“Incredible,” Stockton said of his initial reaction to his agent’s call. “Just something you’ve worked your whole life for. Hopefully I get to a point where I get a shot to play in a game.”
The Kings are scrambling at point guard, which prompted them to call up Stockton from the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s NBA Development League affiliate. Stockton signed a 10-day contract Friday.
Starter Darren Collison has missed the last five games with a strained hip flexor. The Kings traded Ramon Sessions to Washington for Andre Miller, who traveled from the East Coast and arrived at the arena about 90 minutes before game time. Stockton wore No. 9, Sessions’ old number.
McCallum and Miller split time at point guard. Both had eight points and four assists, but McCallum had five turnovers.
John Stockton wasn’t able to make it to Sacramento because he helps coach at Gonzaga Prep, where daughter Laura is a senior. Defending state girls champion G-Prep beat Walla Walla 52-46 Friday night in a subregional game.
The elder Stockton, who became the NBA all-time assists leader 19 years ago Friday, offered some advice to his son.
“All he said was be there early, stay late and be yourself,” David said.
In the third quarter, DeMarcus Cousins dunked over a Celtic, prompting a celebration by Kings’ reserves. Stockton took part, too, but quickly pulled his new teammates back toward the bench to avoid a potential technical foul.
Boston forward Kelly Olynyk, Stockton’s former teammate at Gonzaga, remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Judging by the amount of swelling, it’ll be some time before he gets back on the court.
“I’ve been told that he’s about 70 percent,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I really don’t know what that means as far as a timeline but it would lead me to think he’s going to have a tough time playing on this (road) trip.”
Stockton averaged 16.6 points, 7.9 assists and 2.4 steals for the Bighorns.
“It is awesome; it’s really cool,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “Kelly’s not playing, but the fact that Stocks is going against Kelly makes it that much more special. David has always had a firm belief in his abilities and a supreme confidence. He’s better with better players because he has such a good feel.”
The Kings visit the L.A. Clippers tonight.
“Coach Karl told me as a point guard you have to lead your team and play smart,” Stockton said, “kind of the things I’ve been taught my whole life.”
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