The Sacramento Kings got a steal in the 2013 NBA Draft when shooting guard Ben McLemore fell down in the draft and into their laps at the seventh overall pick. McLemore was projected as one of the best five players in the draft, so to be able to grab a player of his caliber at seven was big for the Kings.
McLemore donned the Kings uniform for the first time on Sunday afternoon as the Kings played their first game at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. McLemore led the Kings in minutes, playing just under 31.5 minutes. However, he didn’t put up an impressive stat-line at all, notching only 11 points, five rebounds and one steal while shooting an abysmal 4-23 from the field and just 1-11 from long-range.
It was clear that McLemore was forcing a lot of shots that he would likely pass up in a regular season game and it was clear that his shot wasn’t falling. However, despite his inefficient day on the job and a pretty awful looking line in the box score, McLemore’s first performance with Sacramento should actually inspire a lot of hope for the Kings.
One of the biggest knocks on McLemore coming into the draft was his lack of aggressiveness. There were multiple times last year at Kansas when McLemore would disappear and shy away from the moment. There were even moments when coaches were pleading for McLemore to attack because he was playing so passively. Many people worried that would continue in the NBA.
Though it’s just one game at Summer League, McLemore was anything but passive. Passive basketball players don’t take 23 shots in 31 minutes of playing time. With his shot selection, it’s pretty apparent that the coaching staff told him to be aggressive offensively and he did so. That’s an extremely good sign for Sacramento.
There’s no questioning the skill of McLemore, even with a poor shooting performance in his first Summer League game. This kid can flat-out shoot the basketball at an elite level. If he continues to play aggressively, his shot will fall when he doesn’t have to force the issue as much. In the end, it may have looked like McLemore had a poor first outing, but it was actually quite promising.