NBA Draft 2013: Why The Phoenix Suns Should Target Ben McLemore
USA TODAY Sports
McLemore could step in and be, with some fine-tuning, the most talented Sun come years end.
The sun didn't rise in Phoenix last year as the team had a disappointing campaign, ending with a record of 25-57.
A team that used to be known for their run-and-gun offensive ways saw themselves end the year averaging less than 96 points per game. In addition, Phoenix shot only 44 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range.
They ranked at the bottom of the Western Conference in nearly every offensive category.
McLemore is one of the best offensive talent in the draft this year and could help Phoenix right away.
McLemore shot nearly 50 percent from the field last year and 42 percent from beyond the arc. He also was a deadly 87 percent free-throw shooter.
SI.com's Chris Mannix says McLemore is the best shooter in this draft class:
During one season at Kansas, McLemore proved he could shoot, connecting on 42 percent of his three-point attempts. But what has NBA scouts drooling are the near flawless mechanics that remind many of Ray Allen.
McLemore also had three 30-point games last year at Kansas.
The Suns need a scorer, preferably in the backcourt. McLemore's ability to get to the rim can help him create his own shot. Put McLemore and Goran Dragic in the same backcourt, and the Suns could start to turn things around on the offensive side of the ball.
McLemore has pretty good size for a shooting guard.
He is 6'5'' and weighs 189 pounds.
ESPN's Chad Ford (Subscription Required) says McLemore "has both length and quickness" at the defensive end of the court. This is another hole he can fill for the Suns.
The Suns had their struggles defensively last year, allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent from the field and allowing an average of 101.6 points per game.
McLemore could help the Suns defensively by using his length to shut down some of the Western Conferences best 2-guards.
The part of McLemore's game that jumps off the stat sheet is his athleticism.
Ford (Subscription Required) says the shooting guard is an "explosive leaper" and a "super athletic wing"
His stats at the combine reflect this. McLemore registered a 32.5-inch standing vertical and a 42-inch max vertical. The 42-inch max vertical was tied for second best at the combine.
Phoenix could use a high-flyer to put excitement back into their games. At times last year, their games were dull and boring. McLemore could add athleticism and excitement to a team much in need of it.
If there is one certainty in this year's 2013 NBA draft, it's that there are a number of question marks with all the top-end talent.
McLemore is no different. He has endured many hardships growing up that have affected his basketball career.
Andy Glockner of SI says McLemore's off-court struggles have affected his game at times:
It’s a real concern for pro evaluators when a major-college coach has to implore his most talented player to consistently put his will on games. But when you consider how hard basketball was for McLemore as a teenager (“It’s hard to play basketball when nothing is inside of you,” McLemore said), perhaps it was asking too much for him regularly command the marquee on a team with four senior starters that went to the national title game the year.
McLemore has all the physical gifts to be a top-end shooting guard in the NBA. As long as the Suns can harness these gifts and instill in him the right mentality, the sky is the limit.
The Suns are devoid of a star to put fans in the seats. They need a player with star potential and scoring ability. McLemore gives them all of this and then some.
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic says McLemore has a couple NBA comparisons: "The Kansas redshirt freshman is a 6-foot-5 scorer who could combine Ray Allen’s shot and Paul George’s bounce if he has the alpha dog aggression that he is claiming," says Coro.
While the availability of McLemore at No. 5 might be in question, if he is there the Suns need to pull the trigger.
McLemore has all the physical tools necessary to become the next Suns great and could start reinvigorating a fanbase.
Who do you think the Suns should pick at number five?
All he has to do is develop the mindset to match.
All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from ESPN.com.
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