Now that we have reached the halfway point of the season, its time to grade out the Sacramento Kings’ first round pick of Ben McLemore. The young player has had some ups and downs in the first half of the season, but the good news is that there are more games to play and more chances to improve. Coach Michael Malone is doing everything he can in his power to give McLemore a chance to be effective and improve to the player that he was projected to be coming out of college. In order for him to succeed, McLemore has to take advantage of these opportunities.
Overall Offensive Grade: B-
Ben McLemore was a high-flying prospect coming from the University of Kansas with all the potential in the world. The Sacramento Kings were in shock that he was still on the board when their seventh overall pick rolled around (as evidenced by the video showing the Kings “war room” celebrating after the sixth pick). Immediately McLemore gave the Kings a fast break point scorer and what seemed like a wicked 3-point sharpshooter. Drawing Ray Allen comparisons, the expectations were somewhat lofty. Earlier in the season, McLemore was starting at the shooting guard position and posting somewhat respectable numbers. Then something happened in the past month that happens to every player, he hit a slump. This isn’t to say that McLemore hasn’t lived up to the hype, just that he is a rookie and has some growing to do. Posting an average of 7.8 points in 24.1 minutes a game, his point totals are not quite up to par with a first round pick. Suffering a bit of a slump in the last few games, McLemore was relegated back to the bench, but this didn’t affect his mentality towards the game. Coach Michael Malone said this was not a disciplinary action so much as it was a chance to get McLemore to regain his confidence. Playing in the Western Conference, McLemore is faced with some of the best guards in the NBA. By putting him back to the bench, this will allow him to gain better match-ups during games.
Overall Defensive Grade: C+
When McLemore is on the floor, there is always the potential for the clutch 3-pointer or a well placed alley-oop, but on the other end of the floor there is somewhat of a gap in his game. While not exactly being the strongest defensive player on the team, McLemore does his best to be a disruptive force and a play-maker. Averaging only 2.8 rebounds and 0.5 steals per game, he may not be the most active defensive personnel to have on the floor. There is more to be had from the young shooting guard, but this is one area where he will have to improve by leaps and bounds. The offense is there, everyone knows that. The defense is what is shaking his game right now. As McLemore grows and matures in the league, the defensive efforts will come and he will become a more well rounded player. The future holds big things for this young player, only time will tell if he will live up to his potential.