When the NBA draft tips off, Ben McLemore will be one of the first names announced. A redshirt freshman for Kansas last season, McLemore wasted no time in becoming one of the top players in the country and leading the Jayhawks to a Big 12 title.
McLemore then decided to test the waters and enter the draft with only one college season under his belt. Expected to be a lottery selection, he will ultimately face the pressure of turning around an NBA team rather quickly.
Let's take a look at some of McLemore's strengths and weaknesses.
Position: Shooting guard
Height/Weight: 6'5", 195 pounds
+ Terrific outside shooter with NBA range
+ Elite athleticism
+ Lengthy wingspan
+ Incredible leaping ability
+ Unselfish team player
When talking about pure athleticism and explosiveness, it doesn't get much better than McLemore. He flies up and down the court, can jump out of the building and has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. He is a lethal shooter from the outside and can simply go on a tear once he finds his zone. Although he has the potential to score at will, he doesn't have the type of selfish attitude that you usually see from guys his age and with similar skill sets.
McLemore's ability to jump higher than others and his long wingspan helps him rebound better than you would expect from somebody at his position and with his frame. His athleticism and long arms also leave the door open for him to grow and become an above-average defender.
- Confidence issues
- Could bulk up his frame a bit more
- Can disappear for long stretches
The number one thing that McLemore needs to improve upon is his confidence. Sometimes he can become a little too passive, and he isn't as aggressive as you would like to see late in games. This plays a big part in why he can go cold and end up disappearing for long periods of the game. Somebody this talented should be more aggressive on the floor and play with a little more pep in his step.
McLemore also needs to add on a little more weight to his lengthy frame. At 6'5", he has the ability to put on a few more pounds of good weight, and he will need to do so once he is in the NBA.
Player Comparison: J.R. Smith, New York Knicks
Hopefully, McLemore doesn't turn out to be the same loud mouth that Smith has become over the years, but their skill sets are extremely similar. Both are very athletic, have great leaping ability and also have the potential to score from anywhere on the court. Smith makes far more questionable decisions than McLemore and doesn't have the same potential defensively, but throw away those two differences and you are looking at two similar players.
There have been many comparisons to Ray Allen thrown out there, but it would be wise to let the kid get into the league first before anybody begins to put that type of pressure on the young man.
With the health concerns surrounding Nerlens Noel, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see McLemore selected with the first overall pick. Whether this is actually the case or not, a team will be getting a terrific player with an early selection. The former Jayhawk is an elite scorer, terrific athlete and will be an impact player right away.
Easily one of the top players in this draft, McLemore will be a top three pick and should have little trouble making an All-Star appearance within his first few years in the league.