Mar 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore (23) looks to shoot during the game against the Michigan Wolverines during the semifinals of the South regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Ben McLemore is projected to be the Washington Wizards 3rd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. At 6’5, 189 pounds, McLemore displayed unmatched athleticism to any other players during his lone season with the Kansas Jayhawks. Although just 20 years old, he drew comparisons to NBA star Ray Allen with his sharpshooting. Here is a look at his profile:
Strengths: McLemore is a shooter first, second, and third. He backed up his perfect shooting form this season with great percentages as well. McLemore hit on 42 percent of his three’s and amassed a 63 percent true shooting percentage. He is able to curl around screens and gain the separation needed to shoot to these high percentages.
When it comes to athleticism, McLemore is off the charts. He is considered by many to be the most athletic player in this year’s draft. Kansas coach Bill Self designed a number of back screens and cuts for McLemore to rise above the rim for ally oops. He was exceptionally dangerous in transition this season where he was able to show off his quickness and explosiveness. Defensively, his lateral quickness allows him to stay with the best guards in the country.
Weaknesses: While a great stand-still shooter, McLemore struggles when forced to put the ball on the floor. He has troubles finding his release point and keeping it at a consistent level and forced in to pull up jumpers. McLemore’s inability to go left while attacking the rim and lack of hesitation make it challenging for him in isolation situations.
It’s important to remember McLemore is just 20 years old and has time to improve defensively. The athleticism is there, but he is constantly caught out of place, ball watching, and is slow to react.
NBA Potential: McLemore is a very safe bet for the 2013 NBA Draft. The sky is the limit for this kid out of St. Louis. The more experience he gets under the spotlight, the more confidence he’ll gain as being the number one scoring option on a team and embrace his full potential. While his isolation game needs to improve, very rarely are rookies thrown under the bus so he has time to improve there. At very worst, McLemore will be a good rotational player for just about any team in the league. He sharpshooting will make him attractive for years to come and with improved defense, he will be able to fit into any system. The unmatched athleticism and potential of McLemore will help him make an impact on whatever team eventually drafts him.