With Kenyon Martin retiring a few weeks ago, there just aren't a whole lot former Cincinnati playersin the NBA right now. However, Sean Kilpatrick would love to change all of that.
He kind of did it last season, when he signed a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in March and played in four games, averaging 5.5 points per contest. It was the culmination of a long and draining first year around the fringes of the NBA for Kilpatrick, a former second-team All-American.
In the months leading up to his NBA debut, Kilpatrick went undrafted in the NBA Draft, played in the Summer League with the Philadelphia 76ers, was signed and waived in a span of four days by the Golden State Warriors before heading to the D-League where he played for the Santa Cruz Warriors and then the Delaware 87ers following a trade.
His signing with Minnesota was made possible by two unlikely circumstances. First, the T-Wolves were granted an NBA hardship exception because they had four players on the sidelines with injuries and second, he just happened to be in the vicinity. Kilpatrick was playing in Delaware, a short-ish drive from New York, where the T-Wolves were getting set to face the Knicks.
It appears that the process is starting all over again, as Kilpatrick is once again grinding in the Summer League, but he is continuing to make cracks in the barrier keeping him from being an everyday NBA player.
Kilpatrick, who is running with the Milwaukee Bucks nowadays, was easily the best scorer for the squad in three games in Las Vegas this past weekend. In the first game against the Pelicans on Friday, he dropped a team-high 24 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Always one to put his head down and go to the hoop, he earned 10 points at the charity stripe, while pulling down four rebounds.
On Sunday, he was once again one of the go-to offensive options, sinking 4-of-11 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, to finish with 11 points against the Spurs. He made some plays on the defensive end as well, ripping out three steals.
The weekend came to a close on Monday against the Cavaliers, with Kilpatrick once again putting forth a strong effort, as he tallied 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including a 2-of-4 showing from 3-point land.
Overall, Kilpatrick averaged 17 points per game on a shooting line of .441/.412/.933, exceptionally strong numbers, especially in shooting from long range and the foul line. He led the Bucks in scoring, but he didn't lead them to any victories, as Milwaukee suffered an 0-3 run. However, even if the Kings hang Summer League championship banners up, the Summer League is about getting noticed and proving that you can play at the next level and Kilpatrick has done a whole lot to prove that. He will have at least two more opportunities in the days to come, as the Las Vegas Summer League playoffs commence on July 15, with each of the 24 teams in attendance guaranteed two more games beyond the opening weekend.