The Sacramento Kings were thrilled that Ben McLemore, considered by some to be the best all-around player in the 2013 NBA Draft, fell into their laps at No. 7 when word was they would need to trade up to get him. They still should be, but his first two performances at the Las Vegas Summer League haven't been pretty, as it seems the talented 20-year-old might be trying to do just a tad too much.
In Game 1, a 76-73 loss to the Mavericks, McLemore took 23 shots and scored just 11 points, missing 10 of his 11 three-point attempts. In Game 2, an 80-66 loss to the Warriors, McLemore was improved, but still not efficient: 14 points on 12 shots, just 1-for-7 from three, with four turnovers and no assists. And the statline doesn't do the shoddy nature of the performance justice, according to those who were in Las Vegas. From SB Nation's Mike Prada:
McLemore comes off a curl and bounces the ensuing post entry pass at his man's feet. Seems a little space cadet'y early.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 16, 2013
McLemore drives past Bazemore, doesn't even look at the hoop, throws it away.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 16, 2013
And there's air ball No. 2. McLemore's thinking before he shoots.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 16, 2013
McLemore gets away with a palming violation, gets by his man … and is stripped. Another uneven game from him, to say the least.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 16, 2013
And Bazemore runs out on McLemore in transition, causing the rookie to dribble off his own foot. Yikes.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) July 16, 2013
Airballs! Bad turnovers! PANIC!
It's not shameful for McLemore to have some growing pains in Vegas. He's two games into something vaguely resembling NBA action, and he's being asked to carry the lion's share of his team's offense. The shooting will come: McLemore hit 42 percent of his threes in college, and although the line is further in the NBA, it's not further enough to cause a dropoff down to 11 percent. The one worrisome thing is that several, including Prada, report a Warriors defensive effort spearheaded by Kent Bazemore focused on sending McLemore to his left, and he looked uncomfortable trying to operate that way. But overall, there's no reason to overreact to two bad performances.
Besides, there's this:
Despite the constant defensive pressure, McLemore has two "wow" plays to his name so far.— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) July 16, 2013
If you're curious, second-round pick Ray McCallum looked quite fine for the Kings, leading all scorers with 23 points on just 10 shots to go along with six steals. Draymond Green and Bazemore carried the torch for Golden State, with 18 and 15 apiece.