NBA Draft 2013 prospect profile: Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore - Ronald Martinez

The 6-foot-4 and a half shooting guard out of Kansas showed a lot of promise this season. How would he fit in with the Magic?

I'm not going to get into the validity of the report or make a claim that the Orlando Magic are willing to trade back for Ben McLemore, but it does make a scouting report of the Kansas guard timely.

More NBA Draft coverage: Orlando Pinstriped Post SB Nation

Ben McLemore's 2012-13 season:

McLemore is your classic late bloomer. He didn't really gain national attention until late in his high school career when he transferred to play ball at Oak Hill Academy, and eventually moved from there to Christian Life Center in Humble, Texas. There he became a five-star recruit and eventually committed to Kansas. McLemore was deemed academically ineligible his freshman year, but earned the right to practice with the team in his 2nd semester.

He began to wow scouts during his 2012-13 campaign with his flawless shooting mechanics and elite athleticism. On January 9th, he scored 33 points on 12 shots from the field against the Iowa State Cyclones. In that game he knocked down a perfect 6-of-6 from three-point range. A month later, against the No. 10 ranked Kansas State Wildcats, McLemore dropped 30 points on 13 shots, going 6-of-10 from three. His best game came against West Virginia on March 2nd, where he scored 36 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field, collecting seven rebounds, and dishing out four assists.

McLemore was a bit disappointing in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, specifically against North Carolina, where he scored just 2 points and went 0-of-9 from the field. His last game, a loss against Michigan in the Sweet 16, was a nice bounce-back performance, as he dropped 20 and looked much more aggressive finding his shot.

Strengths:

McLemore's jump shot is as pure as you can get at the college level. There's no wasted motion. He jumps straight up-and-down, his elbow is always tucked in and he knocks down shots consistently as a spot up shooter. He has explosive athleticism, unmatched by anyone in the draft not named Victor Oladipo. He's unselfish, a very capable passer and had some nice passes out of the pick-and-roll this year. He doesn't get to the free-throw line as frequently as some would like but he knocks down 87 percent of those attempts. His game--and numbers-- remind me a lot of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, when Beal was at Florida. McLemore's a little taller than Beal, but Beal is much more comfortable handling the rock.

McLemore:

Season School Conf G MP PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
2012-13 Kansas Big 12 37 1191 23.2 .633 .586 5.0 12.3 9.1 12.6 1.8 2.2 14.2 23.2
Career Kansas 37 1191 23.2 .633 .586 5.0 12.3 9.1 12.6 1.8 2.2 14.2 23.2
Beal:
Season School Conf G MP PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
2011-12 Florida SEC 37 1267 22.0 .575 .525 4.8 18.1 11.6 12.7 2.5 2.6 14.3 23.0
Career Florida 37 1267 22.0 .575 .525 4.8 18.1 11.6 12.7 2.5 2.6 14.3 23.0

via Basketball-Reference.com

Weaknesses:

Some people have wondered whether McLemore can be a No. 1 option in the NBA. They say that McLemore, at times, looked disinterested in games this season. He also struggled shooting off the dribble and I can't recall one time where he looked comfortable finishing with his left hand. He had the problem of making a good move to the basket, then relying on his right hand which gave the defense a chance to challenge the shot.

He also had his issues on defense: he lacked discipline keeping his man in front of him, his closeouts were often sloppy and he would get caught ball-watching when playing off the ball. But he did show defensive promise, too. When he was locked in, he really caused problems for opponents, utilizing his 6'7 wingspan and elite athleticism.

Overall:

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 TrueShooting% 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.

How does he fit in with the Magic?:

With Nikola Vucevic at center, Tobias Harris at power forward and Moe Harkless at small forward, it's only natural to assume that McLemore would be become the shooting guard of the future, leaving only the point guard spot unoccupied by young talent. Drafting McLemore would mean that Rob Hennigan already sees a point guard of the future--most likely--in the 2014 draft class. There will be a couple point guards in the lottery next year, so that train of thought makes sense.

Jacque Vaughn has showed a willingness to develop his young players, so McLemore would assume responsibilities right away. He'd probably sit behind Arron Afflalo for parts of his rookie year, but I imagine Vaughn would find ways to get both guards on the floor at the same time, much like he did with J.J. Redick this past year. Orlando was one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA last year and McLemore would be able to help there immediately.


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