Ben McLemore is a terrific player for the Kansas Jayhawks, but this NCAA tournament can only hurt the NBA draft stock for the freshman guard.
It’s been a fantastic year for both the Jayhawks and McLemore. The team went 30-5 with a 14-4 conference record, good enough to earn a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
McLemore’s numbers have been sensational so far, averaging 16.2 points, 5.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He has done all of this while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor, 43.1 percent from behind the arc and 86.8 percent from the charity stripe.
Currently, McLemore is a favorite for the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. A mock draft by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com has the freshman going No. 1 overall.
That means that McLemore can only hurt his draft stock by playing in the tournament.
While it would completely selfish and ridiculous for McLemore to sit out the tournament, it would keep him from potentially losing millions of dollars by falling from the No. 1 pick.
According to HoopsWorld.com, the pay scale for a draft pick goes from $4.29 million to $3.84 million in the first year by going from the No. 1 to No. 2 pick. Over the first three years, the player would lose an estimated $1.41 million in salary just by dropping one pick.
As the projected No. 1 overall pick, it’s impossible to improve his draft stock any further. McLemore can only drop, whether it’s by getting injured or by having a bad game.
Scouts will be looking very closely at players during the tournament, seeing who shines and who struggles underneath the biggest spotlight in college basketball. Any mishap by McLemore will be noted around the NBA by scouts.
Where will McLemore go in the NBA draft (if he declares)?
While getting injured is less likely in basketball than in football, it is still a possibility. ACL injuries have been very prominent in both the NBA and in college basketball this season, with big names like Nerlens Noel and Rajon Rondo going down. It’s not likely, but an ACL injury would be devastating for the future NBA player.
Hopefully for the Jayhawks, McLemore won’t pay attention to this. He is a terrific player and a great competitor who will likely want nothing more than to bring a championship to the Kansas campus.
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