The 2014 NBA Draft class looks to be an impressive one. With players like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart and Julius Randle all expected to be franchise changing types; it is only natural to look ahead to a potentially blockbuster year. But with all the excitement for next year’s class, this year’s has been slightly overlooked. One player in particular that has the potential to begin a turnaround in their new home is Ben McLemore in Sacramento. Ever since the dissolving of the teams that challenged the Lakers in the late 90′s and early 2000′s, the Kings have been looking for a player like McLemore, someone that is not only a great player on the floor but also has the maturity to put all their talent to use and lead the team to the Playoffs. He has the chance to challenge for the Rookie of the Year award this season and have a very good career in the NBA.
McLemore may be the most talented offensive perimeter player for the Kings already. His jump shot is text book, with a comparison to Ray Allen being made by almost every draft observer during pre-draft evaluations. His ability to catch and shoot will work well with a player like Greivis Vasquez who is one of the most underrated distributors in the league, and also Isaiah Thomas, who may be a talented offensive player but he has problems getting stuck after being too aggressive on the drive. He is not a one dimensional player on the offensive end however. With his superb athleticism he can put the ball on the floor and finish over seemingly anyone. There were times last season at Kansas where the go-to underneath out of bounds play was an alley-oop to McLemore of a back screen, or he would find his own shot off the dribble. The variety of moves he has with the ball in his hands keep defenders off balance, giving him a great advantage. The biggest qualm with McLemore is his lack of aggression and a willingness to take over when it is needed. This was seen during his one season playing at Kansas, with ups and downs scoring most notably during the NCAA tournament. He had a dreadful game against North Carolina where he went 0-9 from the field and scored only two points. Even though he bounced back very well in their next game against Michigan, a player with the incredible talent he has should not have games like that. If he is going to fulfill his great potential in the professional ranks, he will have to be more willing to take the ball and score. He has the ability to be a competent ball handler as well, despite some criticizing that part of his game. With Thomas and the other back-up guards on the roster being scorers, McLemore could eventually take over controlling the ball when needed as well. Defensively, he has the potential to be a very good player as well. With his great length and quickness he can keep players in front of him and is a capable rebounder at his position as well. With the perimeter players in Sacramento not being defensive players, growth from McLemore on that end will be welcomed.
McLemore has the ability to be the second offensive option for the Kings and the best perimeter player for the franchise since Peja Stojakovic. With DeMarcus Cousins still currently on the roster, despite his immaturity, there is hope for a good duo to develop with the two of them. When Cousins is ultimately double teamed due to him being the biggest offensive threat in the post, McLemore will be deadly with his catch and shoot ability. If he can learn to be that aggressive player that Kansas needed last season and take over when Cousins ultimately gets into the foul trouble, or whatever kind of trouble he gets into, McLemore will find his way into the Rookie of the Year conversation and eventually the All Star conversation. With the rumors of the franchise moving to Seattle, McLemore could be that star player the franchise needs to get the buzz back to a fan base that has been one of the best for the past two decades.