Ben McLemore once generated countless comparisons to Hall of Famers who played his position. Now he is seeking to revive his career. Can the former Kansas standout find a way to salvage his last shot with the Houston Rockets?
The 26-year-old — who starred under the legendary Bill Self at Kansas — averaged 15.9 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting from the field, en route to earning All-America honors during his lone season in Lawrence.
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Yet in spite of his instant success across the collegiate ranks, McLemore would fail to shine on the game’s highest level.
In addition to making any discernible progress, as the man who once drew constant comparisons to Ray Allen — and selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft — soon found himself watching the majority of his fellow classmates pass him by as he worked to carve out his role in the league.
After averaging 9.4 points and 2.6 rebounds through his first four seasons with the Sacramento Kings, McLemore would immediately seek to land right back on his feet, by agreeing to sign a two-year, $10.7 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies in the summer of 2017.
However, basketball prosperity would not await McLemore as he planned, as the former Jayhawks star’s inability to put together consistent stretches at both ends of the floor led to his immediate departure from Grind City.
A return via trade to Sacramento would soon follow, yet it would only prove to be a short stay for the former lottery pick in the long run.
McLemore, who averaged just 3.9 points per game in his second stint with the Kings, was placed on waivers after playing in only 19 games last February.
Now, McLemore is working to try and resurrect his basketball pilgrimage down in Clutch City, as the player that has recently fallen on hard times is hoping that his third NBA team is indeed the charm.
"“I’m ready to come in and compete,” McLemore said via his Instagram account immediately after agreeing to sign with the Rockets last week.“I feel that I found a great fit in this system and [I] can’t wait to start working with the staff to come in and provide what they want and need from me.”"
Although it is currently unknown what role McLemore might have within the overall realm of Houston’s attack, the 6’5″, 195-pound shooting guard could become Mike D’Antoni‘s restoration project should he manage to fully buy in and thrive in a system designed to take advantage of his spectacular stroke from beyond the arc.
Despite dealing with a fluctuation in minutes over the course of his career, McLemore has proven to be a quality spot-up shooter during his time on the court, shooting 35 percent or better from 3-point range over the last five seasons.
Including a career-best 41.5 percent from the field on just 41 attempts from downtown last year, as playing alongside James Harden and Russell Westbrook should help the six-year veteran garner an array of clean looks.
On top of more attempts in the process, as McLemore has only hoisted up more than 300 triples or more in a single season just once in his career.
Should McLemore display any improvement on the defensive end, then there is a possibility that the young, dynamic wing threat could revive his NBA career, as figuring out how to do so might be the difference between whether he salvages what could be his final shot in the league or not.