Chimezie Metu made a mistake.
The Kings’ power forward did the inexcusable Sunday afternoon during a Las Vegas Summer League game. He allowed his emotions to get the best of him and he threw a punch.
Whether the play by Dallas Mavericks two-way player Eugene Omoruyi was dirty or not is debatable. At the moment of the play, the Kings were up 18 points with a little over three minutes remaining against a winless Mavs team.
Clearly there was some frustration on Omoruyi’s part, especially with the Kings running up the score and being extremely vocal in celebrating from the bench in the plays leading up to this incident.
It should also be noted that point differential is one of the tie breakers during Summer League, which means that scoring a few extra buckets on a down opponent isn’t only encouraged, it is rewarded.
After review, Omoruyi was hit with a flagrant foul two and ejected from the game, as was Metu for throwing and landing a punch.
“Do we like what Metu did? No,” Kings Summer League and Stockton Kings head coach Bobby Jackson said. “But at the end of the day, we have to have his back and we’ve got to support him and understand that it’s a growing and teaching method right now that allows everybody to grow through it.”
It wasn’t a good look for the 24-year-old big man, but it’s a reaction that might have been six months in the making.
Metu was torn off the rim on Feb. 14 by Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas after a big dunk. He fell to the floor and broke his wrist on the play, which cost him more than a month of action.
Unlike the hit from Omoruyi, Valanciunas was not punished by the league either in real time or after review, which didn’t sit well with the Kings.
While the Kings need to show more physicality in these situations and stand up for one another, throwing a punch isn’t the answer.
“Was it a dirty play? Probably, yes,” Jackson said. “He has to learn from that. It’s not acceptable in any platform, any gym. It was a hard foul. He reacted, but again, I’m his coach, I’m the organization and I’m going to continue to support him and have his back through these times.”
These things happen. Metu overreacted to the situation and it likely will cost him the Kings’ final Summer League game. Omoruyi has some responsibility in the events of the day as well and that is why he was removed from the game.
Hopefully this is a learning event for all involved.