Updates from Friday, Jan. 17
Sacramento Bee reporter Jason Jones reports that McLemore will play Friday night:
Ben McLemore (ankle) will play tonight at Memphis— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) January 17, 2014
Jones gave more details on McLemore's status:
McLemore left Wednesday’s win at Minnesota with a sprained left ankle.
“I’ve been getting treatments since it happened in Minnesota so I’m feeling good right now,” McLemore said after shootaround this morning at FedEx Forum. “I’m ready to out there and play with my teammates.”
McLemore said he couldn’t run two days ago but had no problems this morning.
“He’s fine,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “Young legs, he recovers quickly. I don’t think it was too severe.”
Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee provided a encouraging update after the game:
McLemore sustained the injury midway through the second quarter working on the defensive end. Noticeably limping and grimacing on the court, he was taken out of the game after a foul at the 8:07 mark in the second for Marcus Thornton.
After being attended to by the training staff, it was determined he had suffered a sprain and would miss the rest of the contest. The severity of McLemore's injury is unknown at this time and will likely require further testing to see how long he'll be on the shelf.
McLemore did not score in his seven minutes on Wednesday night, adding just a block and rebound.
The No. 7 pick in last June's draft, McLemore's rookie season has been an up and down affair. He's averaging just 8.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game while shooting a disconcerting 35.9 percent from the field, leading to him recently losing his starting spot.
“Same mentality,” McLemore said of his return to the bench, per Cowbell Kingdom's Jonathan Santiago. “Just going out there, giving my all, doing whatever coach wants me to do offensively and defensively and just going out there and do some things to help my teammates and help the team win the game.”
Coach Mike Malone has inserted McLemore and taken him out of the starting five at multiple points this season, looking to find the right button to push as Sacramento continues its long-term retooling.
When McLemore is playing well, he looks like he has the potential to become the best young shooting guard in the NBA. He has a smooth stroke from beyond the arc—Ray Allen comparisons were aplenty during the draft process—and can finish well in transition.
However, McLemore's hot streaks have been few and far between lately. Heading into Wednesday night, he was only averaging 3.8 points per game on 22.9 percent shooting during January. McLemore is also a noted minus on the defensive end, with the Kings allowing nearly seven points more per 100 possessions when he's on the floor, per NBA.com.
Thornton will continue to see a minutes increase should McLemore's ankle keep him out for any extended period. Malone could also experiment with using Jimmer Fredette, mostly a backup point guard this season, in his more natural 2. Either way, it will be an interesting dynamic for Sacramento, as the team was already a bit thin on the wings.
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