SB Nation is posting scouting reports of each prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft. Learn more about Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.
NAME: Ben McLemore.
AGE ON DRAFT DAY: 20 years, four months.
POSITION: Shooting guard.
MEASUREMENTS: 6'4, 182 pounds, 6'8 wingspan, 8'3 standing reach
|2012 - Ben McLemore||37||32.2||5.4||10.8||49.5||2.0||4.7||42.0||3.2||3.7||87.0||1.3||3.9||5.2||2.0||2.1||1.0||0.7||1.9||15.9|
RELEVANT ADVANCED STATS: 63.3% true-shooting percentage this season. That's preposterous efficiency from a shooting guard.
SB NATION BIG BOARD POSITION: No. 2.
NBA CEILING: Ray Allen.
NBA FLOOR: Jason Richardson (the current version).
JONATHAN TJARKS' ANALYSIS
As a high schooler in St. Louis, Ben McLemore played in the shadow of AAU teammate and current Washington Wizard Bradley Beal. Academics forced him to sit out his first year at Kansas, and he quickly became out of sight, out of mind.
He put that time to good use, though. As a redshirt freshman, he was the best player on a loaded Jayhawks team, averaging 16 points and five rebounds a game on 49 percent shooting from the field, 42 percent from three-point range and 87 percent from the free-throw line.
McLemore is essentially the prototypical shooting guard. He has size (6'4, 180 pounds with a 6'8 wingspan), elite athleticism and an effortless-looking three-point shot. Not many guys can conceivably compete in the dunk contest and the three-point shootout.
However, for all his talent, he wasn't asked to do too much at Kansas. He got most of his points within the flow of the offense, either running of screens or getting out in transition. As an unselfish player without great ball-handling ability, McLemore has the tendency to disappear when the offense stagnates.
He's the Bizarro JR Smith: efficiency is the most intriguing part of his game. He scored 33 points on 13 shots against Iowa State and 30 points on 13 shots against Kansas State. If he gets an open look, he won't miss very often.
When it comes to his transition to the NBA, the question is whether he will be able to create those looks for himself. In the NBA, elite shooting guards can get into the lane, draw fouls and create shots for their teammates, all things McLemore struggled with at Kansas. To become an All-Star, McLemore will need to improve as a shot-creator and a playmaker.
Nevertheless, his floor -- a two-way shooting guard who can be a hyper-efficient release valve on offense -- is still pretty high.
DRAFT EXPRESS SCOUTING REPORT
OTHER SCOUTING REPORTS
McLemore is the ideal shooting guard type that can help fix a struggling roster at the bottom of the NBA. Should he fall to the Bobcats, he could come in and start immediately on their roster. McLemore has a combination of perimeter offense, elite athleticism, and quickness that stand to make him a starter and even a potential NBA all-star after the likes of Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, etc, finally retire.
Critics really wanted McLemore to dominate every game, which he didn't. I don't think it's because he was disinterested, more so because he's an unselfish guard who doesn't look to force things. He played within the system and showed good shot selection which explains why his True Shooting percentage was so high (63.3).
What McLemore is going to need in the NBA -- much like Beal needed -- is a point guard who can create open looks for him. McLemore can space the floor and murder teams in transition. In time, I think he can become an excellent 3-and-D type player that general managers covet.
McLemore's projected wins rate him as a definite top 10 pick. I do not really see any argument for him as the No. 1 or No. 2 pick as most mocks have him, but I wouldn't be surprised if McLemore makes some team happy wherever he goes. He hit threes as a freshman and the fact that he also knocked down free throws at an 87-percent clip lends further credibility to his shooting ability. He doesn't get to the rim as often as I would like, but he takes more rim attempts than mid-range jumpers and that keeps him out of red-flag territory in my opinion. McLemore does little to excite me as a prospect, but the only real knock I can find is his pedestrian steal rate. For whatever reason steals seem to go a long way towards predicting future success and McLemore is at a concerning level, however the relationship between college steals and NBA wins is captured in the model and McLemore still does well so clearly he is making up for it elsewhere.
Ben McLemore is the safest bet in the draft. His worst case scenario is still good for a rotational "3 and D" player, a valuable commodity for any team. There are concerns over his lack of an isolation game, but rookies typically aren't thrown into the fire like that right away. At only 20 years old, we sometimes forget he hasn't been exposed to these highly sophisticated offenses in the past, a training regimen or even a proper diet. The more exposure he gets, the more comfortable he'll be under the spotlight and the more confidence he'll emit as a primary option. The sky is truly the limit for the young guard out of St. Louis.
Ben McLemore was one of the more exciting players to watch this year. He was the best player on a very good Jayhawks team that stepped up on multiple occasions, especially in the fourth quarter, to pull out some hard fought victories. McLemore has elite athleticism, second only to Oladipo among the wings, and he has the smoothest jumpshot in college. He also has nice length and the lateral agility to be a very good defender. McLemore has all of the tools to be a star at the next level ... but will he fulfill his potential? Despite his athleticism, McLemore rarely creates his own shot, and doesn't attack the rim nearly enough. He can be so much more than a catch-and-shoot player, but we didn't see him do much more than that this year. Probably the highest boom/bust ratio of any wing in the draft, but Phoenix could be in the market for just such a player, as long as his rewards outweigh his risks ... and I believe they do.
Dude shot nearly 50 percent while taking 400 shots on the season. And his coach and teammates thought he was too tentative. In a lot of ways I feel like he is one of the more underrated No. 2 overall picks in recent years only because I think he is going to improve by leaps and bounds as he matures and gets more confident in his game.
The main offensive flaw with him would probably be his lack of ability to create his own shot as a ball-handler. That alone is a huge turn-off because Charlotte doesn't have a great pick-and-pop threat, so defenses will probably focus in on McLemore when he tries to work in a pick and roll. His perimeter game and quickness are intriguing but the uncertainty remains concerning how well he'd work in a system that lacks any real offensive threats that could take the pressure away from McLemore.
At 20 years old, Ben McLemore has already been compared to Ray Allen. The 6'4" shooting guard out of Kansas has amazing range, shooting 39.5 percent from behind the college three-point line this season. McLemore sees the majority of his baskets from beyond the arc and in transition, where his elite quickness and explosiveness allow him to thrive. As a shooter, McLemore is already adept at creating separation off screens, getting his feet set and spotting up. However, his shoddy ball-handling caps his potential on the offensive end as McLemore doesn't score on isolation plays. On the defensive end, McLemore has solid length, strength and quickness. His potential has yet to line in with his consistency but the freshman shows a ton of promise on both ends. I would liken him to a more athletic version of Arron Afflalo.
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