It is that time of the year for the NBA, the time where all the talk turns to the NBA Draft and waiting around for the Finals to begin.
For lottery teams the draft has been on the minds of their fans since April, and for some fans, including those of the Sacramento Kings, they have been thinking about it since January. With the draft more than three weeks away it give us some time to look back at the 2013-14 season and discuss specific players’ seasons.
Today we take a look back at the No. 7 overall pick of last year’s draft, Ben McLemore, and boy was it quite a bumpy ride for all.
Draft and Preseason
McLemore was considered one of the most talented players in the 2013 draft, he was coming off of a huge freshman year at Kansas, where he shot the ball incredibly well. During his only college season, McLemore averaged just less than 16 points per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3.
He had one of the purest jump shots in college basketball at the time, leading many to compare him to Ray Allen during the draft process. Most experts believed he would be one of the top five picks in what was considered a weak draft. However, on draft night the Kings found themselves watching McLemore fall to them at No. 7. When Sacramento selected him it was viewed as a steal at No. 7, and that the Kings would finally have a shooting guard who could play both ways.
After being drafted McLemore, was able to participate on the Kings’ Las Vegas Summer League team. Fans were ready to watch him start to separate himself from the competition with is shooting and athleticism.
McLemore showed his athletic ability right away with some spectacular dunks over the league play, but his shooting never made it to Vegas. He was 4-for-23 from the floor in his first game and did not ever find his shooting stroke.
McLemore’s shooting woes led head coach Mike Malone to say, “He has to realize, if your jump shot is not going, sometimes drive the ball, get to the foul line, get some easy ones.”
Overall, McLemore shot 33 percent from the field and a terrible 19 percent from 3; he was able to average almost 16 points per game, but it came on 16 shots per game. Needless to say this was not the start that McLemore or the Kings envisioned when they selected him with the seventh pick.
The preseason games were much nicer to McLemore. In all seven games he came off the bench and shot 46 percent from the field, while only taking nine shot attempts per game. He was also able to shoot better from 3, where he averaged 36 percent; overall he scored just more than 11 points per game during the preseason.
At the time he was backing up starter Marcus Thornton, who was the projected starter from the beginning of training camp. The goal with bringing McLemore off the bench was to help him ease his way into the NBA.