Grading the Houston Rockets this season: Ben McLemore

Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

From being labeled a draft bust to landing the perfect role on a championship contender, Ben McLemore has become a key player for the Houston Rockets.

2019-20: 9.8 PTS, 2.2 REB, 0.9 AST per game, 44.5 percent FG and 39.5 percent from 3

Ben McLemore was selected seventh overall in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. The Kansas Jayhawk was high on the draft boards due to his athleticism and sweet shooting stroke, even getting some early comparisons to Ray Allen, but even he thought his NBA career might be on its tail-end before having a resurgence with the Houston Rockets.

There was never any doubt that McLemore could shoot the ball well, but it was a matter of the young shooting guard playing in the right system on the right team. McLemore’s first tenure with the Kings was not up to par for what he was expected to do as a high lottery selection.

Following a failed stint with Sacramento, McLemore landed in Memphis to play for the Grizzlies, where he again failed to live up to the hype out of college. Eventually, he landed back in Sacramento during the last couple of weeks of the 2018-19 NBA season.

Finally, the sharpshooting guard landed in a scenario that best fit his style of play when he joined the one team that lives and dies by the 3-point ball while also not focusing heavily on the defensive end, the Houston Rockets.

Last July, McLemore signed a two-year contract with partial guarantees. This deal was an under the radar move for Daryl Morey and has proven to be a good decision so far. The 27-year-old has become a reliable key option off of the bench for Coach Mike D’Antoni and his having a fairly good season.

Although McLemore does struggle on the defensive end, he is being used to stretch the floor for James Harden and Russell Westbrook, which he does almost perfectly.

With former Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon struggling and inconsistent play from Austin Rivers, McLemore has been the best bench player of the season for the Rockets.

Related Story. Grading the Rockets this season: Eric Gordon

McLemore has a true shooting percentage of 62.2 this season, which is the best of his career and is crucial in the new micro ball system. The 6-3 guard has also proven he can succeed in the starting lineup when needed, averaging 12.6 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from three in his 19 starts.

Grade: B

Showing the capability to play off the bench and as a starter when needed is helping McLemore become a better player overall. Already a fan favorite at the Toyota Center, Ben is showing up during the most important year of his career and it has paid off for him and the Rockets.

Proving that he can be a reliable player on a championship contender has saved Ben McLemore’s career.

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Even though he still isn’t living up to the hype in what was a fairly weak draft class, McLemore has found a home in Clutch City as a member of the Houston Rockets and looks primed to continue making an important impact.