With the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings selected Ben McLemore, the 6’5″ shooting guard, out of Kansas. The Kings have had many failed high draft picks in recent history, and the product of all those bad decisions is a mediocre team.
In McLemore, the Kings have a potential superstar but that could also be said for most other first round picks they have had, since their glory days of a decade ago. The upcoming season will definitely reveal whether the Kings struck gold or if they were suckered in by fools gold.
Setting a criteria for judging a successful season for the rookie is the purpose of this discussion. I’ll make two bold predictions, that I believe are within reach for McLemore.
1. 48 Percent Field Goal Average For The Season
At Kansas, McLemore went 198/400 for an average of 49.5 percent including 42 percent from behind the arc. For a center, 49 percent shooting is a respectable number but for a back court player, that is a legendary number. McLemore does get to the bucket often and that does pad the average but he is also an outstanding shooter.
To get to 48 percent average, McLemore would have to be able to create his own shots or have a distributor able to create open shots for his teammates. The Kings has a respectable point guard in Greivis Vasquez who can distribute the ball very efficiently and that could help McLemore in getting open shots.
Having a center who commands a double team on the pos, will also help open lanes for the former Jayhawk. The Kings, fortunately, have such a player in DeMarcus Cousins.
The Kings definitely have enough players on the team for McLemore to excel. For him to achieve such an unattainable goal as a rookie, he would have to take his chance and become the first offensive option on the team.
2. Average 15 points Per Game
Last year, playing at Kansas, Ben McLemore averaged 15.9 ppg. In leading the Jayhawks to the Sweet 16, McLemore showed why he is a top player. His draft status is indicative of a successful college career, but will that translate to the NBA? I say it does.
I can certainly see McLemore having a season like Tyreke Evans had as a rookie in the 2009-2010 season, when he averaged 20.1 ppg. McLemore is a very polished shooter, so that should help him have a successful campaign in the upcoming season.
The rookie will also have to bulk up a little, if he is to be able to drive in the paint. At 195 pounds, he is a little on the light side and hitting the gym will certainly help his physicality.
Coincidently, Evans averaged 15.2 ppg last season. If McLemore reaches 15 ppg for the season, he will succeed in replacing the former NBA rookie of the year.
To average 15 ppg as a rookie in the NBA, requires a lot of skill since most of the players who stick to rosters are better defenders, and having good fundamentals help players be successful.
McLemore can play at either the 2 or the 3 position and this helps his chances being on the floor and getting more minutes.
The Sacramento Kings are headed in a new direction. They are in the process of resigning Cousins to a long term contract, they have acquired new leadership in the front office and on the bench, they even have a deal for a new downtown arena. Ben Mclemore breaking out in his rookie season will be a huge confidence booster for the kings faithfull.
Many have compared Ben McLemore to Ray Allen, but I see a lot of Dwayne Wade in him as well. For the Kings to steal a player in the caliber of Wade would be mind boggling, but it would represent a resurgence for a championship-starved city like Sacramento.