2. Ben McLemore
Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Houston Rockets sharpshooter Ben McLemore was an afterthought around the league. In fact, the Rockets were McLemore’s third team in as many seasons, as he failed to stick on any team.
Not only that, McLemore only played 19 games with the Sacramento Kings during the 2018-19, as he was released around the midway point of the season. This was in spite of the fact that McLemore made 41.5 percent of his 3-point attempts.
What’s even more intriguing is the fact that McLemore wasn’t signed by any other team despite performing so well from downtown. Part of the issue McLemore continually ran into was the fact that he was on non-contending teams, so he had a low impact on winning and team success, which is possibly why he kept getting overlooked.
The Houston Rockets made the decision to invite McLemore to their training camp, and signed him to a non-guaranteed deal. At the time it seemed like a move Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was doing just to kick the tires on a former lottery pick, much like he did with Anthony Bennett.
McLemore ended up making the team, which gave him the opportunity to be a part of a playoff team for the first time in his career. The Kansas product made the most of the opportunity, as he’s been the Rockets’ most consistent 3-point shooter this season.
McLemore had made 39.5 percent of his triples, which ranks 16th in the league among players who have appeared in at least 60 games this season. McLemore has nailed a total of 154 threes, which also ranks 14th among players with at least 60 appearances.
McLemore has demonstrated the ability to play alongside multiple stars, such as Russell Westbrook and James Harden, which also shows maturity on his part, as not many lottery picks would be able to handle being a role player. All in all, McLemore has averaged 22 minutes per game, which is a higher number than each of his last four seasons, and he’s also started in 19 games for the Rockets this season.
With McLemore having shown his worth on a contending team and his acceptance of not being the star player, it’s a given that he’s earned himself a much larger payday in the league next season, which the Rockets won’t be able to give him. This means McLemore will likely be taking a page out of Trevor Ariza‘s book, as Ariza ultimately left the Rockets during the offseason of 2018, and landed a hefty contract by leaving the Rockets.
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