Houston Rockets: Why McLemore is one of the best signings this year

Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have gotten tremendous returns on sharpshooter Ben McLemore, which couldn’t have been expected. With McLemore’s stellar play, he’s proven to be one of the best signings of the offseason.

When the Houston Rockets announced that they were extending a training camp invite to Ben McLemore, it wasn’t necessarily known if he was going to make the roster. It seemed like the Rockets were simply kicking the tires on a former lottery-pick in order to create a healthy competition for the final roster spot.

This was even more of the belief when it was announced that the Rockets were giving him a non-guaranteed contract. Many believed McLemore wouldn’t make the cut, similar to what happened with Ryan Anderson and Anthony Bennett. Granted, Bennett ultimately had knee surgery so it’s not necessarily fair to say he didn’t make the team, but still.

As we know by now, McLemore ended up making the roster. But not only has he made the roster, he’s given the Rockets great returns on their investment. The Rockets were so impressed with McLemore that they ultimately decided to guarantee the remainder of his contract, which is a big deal considering how closely the Rockets monitor their payroll.

McLemore has shot 38.3 percent from long-range this season, which is the highest 3-point percentage on the Houston Rockets. On top of that, the 26-year-old sharpshooter ranks 15th in the league in total 3-pointers made (heading into Monday’s slate of games).

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This is already impressive enough, but when you factor in the fact that he’s only making $2 million this season, it puts things into a much different light. McLemore has the third-lowest salary of all the players inside of the top-15 in 3-point shooting, and he’s also one of only three players in that class to have a non-guaranteed salary next season.

When you put that in perspective, it’s hard not to consider McLemore as one of the biggest free agent signings in the league, because the Rockets didn’t necessarily have the cap space to sign a top-15 3-point shooter at the time. Sure there were superstars such as Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving who were the biggest fish to sign in free agency, but those players were already proven superstars.

This means these respective teams knew what they were getting, which is why they doled out so much money to land them. But the Rockets weren’t expecting McLemore to even make the roster and he’s instead been one of the best 3-point shooters in the entire league.

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From this lens, it’s impossible to not view McLemore as one of the best free-agent signings, and an argument can be made that he was THE best free agent signing, considering his low price tag.