With new owners, a new front office and Ben McLemore falling to them at the seventh pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings had to feel like this summer signified a change in their fortunes. McLemore has one of the highest upsides of any player in this draft, but a wacky first round left the Kings with him in tow. However, the Las Vegas Summer League slightly dampened that excitement.
McLemore, who is highly touted for his offensive abilities, struggled mightily to get his shot to fall and to be effective on the offensive end of the floor in Vegas. Before a solid game to close out his week at Summer League where he scored 27 points on 10-21 shooting, McLemore had shot an abysmal 16-57 from the floor and just 5-28 from long-range.
There were several things that stood out from Summer League about McLemore. The first was that he needed to improve his ball-handling to help him get cleaner looks with the ball in his hand and the second was that he seemed to be pressing and that was the chief cause of his struggles. His form still looked silky with his shot, but it just wasn’t falling.
With the Kings starting the preseason, though, they have seen McLemore perform more like the player that they thought they were getting in the draft, showing off some impressive offense. In his first two preseason games for Sacramento, McLemore is averaging 12.5 points, four rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 26.5 minutes per game. More importantly, he has shot 9-19 from the field and 5-10 from long-range thus far in the preseason.
There’s no question that this Kings teams is still trying to sort out their roster and clean up the mess that has been made over the past few years. McLemore’s offensive ability that will only grow as he develops and gets older is a key part in this organization turning a corner. Summer League may have been a bit worrisome, but the rookie has definitely looked promising in his first preseason action.