It's only April 12, which means that we have two months before the most ebullient comparisons between 20-year-olds and Hall of Famers sprout. That didn't stop an anonymous NBA scout from telling the Lawrence Journal-World all about how awesome Ben McLemore is going to be, though. Via HoopsHype:
"McLemore is a better version of Ray Allen. He will play shooting guard the way it is supposed to be played," the talent evaluator said.
McLemore, 20, played one season of college ball and had a rough finish to said season. Ray Allen is a Hall of Fame two-guard on perhaps his final contract. I know the scout is trying to puff up McLemore, and I'll never discourage enthusiasm. But these types of comparisons don't actually help anyone. It doesn't help McLemore to enter the league with ridiculous expectations to which he will almost assuredly struggle to meet.
Because even if McLemore is someday a "better version of Ray Allen," it's not going to happen immediately. And anyone expecting that would be silly. But the comp is now out there. And McLemore's going to be asked about it. And even if he answers perfectly, he has to acknowledge that he thinks he'll be an awesome player. It's a money thing. A No. 2 pick makes a good bit more than a No. 3 pick.
On the other side, this is what turns a lot of people off about the draft: instead of describing how McLemore plays, what he brings, which skills will translate and which one won't, the scout makes the crazy comparison. (Maybe the scout did describe all those things. But as soon as he dropped "a better version of Ray Allen," that's all the reporter heard.)
And in the end, I'm left wondering how exactly one makes a better version of Ray Allen. Like, you're not saying Ben McLemore is going to be a better shooter or have better mechanics, right? Is he faster or more athletic? If so, how does that translate to Allen's game? Is he stronger, more powerful in the lane? A better defender? But then you add that stuff and you're not even talking about Allen anymore. You're talking about MJ.
Which, you know, is a tricky place to be in draft talk, as the infamous DeShawn Stevenson profile reminds us every single spring.
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