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NBA Draft Profile: Ben McLemore

BEN MCLEMORE

6-5, 195 lbs.

School: Kansas

Class: Freshman

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Jamie Salbau/Getty Images

STRENGTHS: McLemore was one of the most ballyhooed freshman in the nation this past season, and made an immediate impact at Kansas. He is a freak athlete with incredible leaping ability and a long frame, and his body type fits that of an NBA shooting guard perfectly. He’s also a terrific shooter and capable scorer, and took over late in games on more than one occasion for the Jayhawks. Head coach Bill Self has called McLemore “the most talented kid I’ve ever coached.” While that may or may not be hyperbole, there’s no question that McLemore is physically gifted. He’s a solid defender, has excellent speed, and doesn’t shy away from big moments. He has all of the tools to eventually become a solid NBA player.

WEAKNESSES: McLemore disappeared at times and often deferred to teammates when he should have taken over. He scored fewer than 10 points five times during the season, including putting up just 2 points on 0-for-9 shooting in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament against North Carolina. McLemore is young; with only one season of college basketball experience under his belt.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s going to take some time. McLemore’s play didn’t quite match to the hyperbolic hype, as evidenced by the fact that Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, not him, won both the Big XII Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors. McLemore has all of the skills in his repertoire, but it’s going to take a while for him to put them all together. It would be reasonable to expect that he could contribute to an NBA team this year, much in the way that Bradley Beal was effective for the Wizards. But he’s not Damian Lillard. He’s not Kevin Durant or LeBron James. It’s going to be a little bit before we see his full potential come to fruition in the league.
 

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