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What about Ben McLemore?

2013 March 14
by Andrew Melnick

mclemore

Ok, so we’ve already discussed the reasons the Orlando Magic would pick Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart in this summer’s draft.

However, there are many concerns with that potential pick. Smart hasn’t shot the ball very well, he’s turned the ball over more than you’d like and most importantly, another team may select Smart before the Magic get the chance.

That leaves the Magic with a few other options, including another Big 12 freshman guard, Kansas’s Ben McLemore.

McLemore isn’t the same kind of player as Smart. He’s a pure shooting guard. On the season, McLemore shot 50.1% ¬†from the field, 43.4% from beyond the arc and 88.0% from the charity stripe.

McLemore has a PER of 25.2, a true shooting percentage of 67.2% and an effective field goal percentage of 59.1%.

Clearly, he’s a very impressive shooter.

Of course, McLemore isn’t a point guard like Smart, but does that really matter?

Orlando has already traded their most efficient shooting guard in J.J. Redick and despite making it well known Arron Afflalo was an important piece in last summer’s Dwight Howard trade, the Magic appear to be willing to part with their leading scorer (16.8 points per game).

If the Magic could find a way to trade Afflalo, it could clear the way for them to pick McLemore, adding another young piece to their core of Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris.

The 6’4, 195 lb. guard is averaging 16.7 points per game for the sixth-ranked Jayhawks and recently had his most impressive performance, a 36-point, seven-rebound, four-assist game against West Virginia Saturday.

Besides his suberb shooting, there are several other reasons NBA front offices would love the select McLemore. He played for on of the NCAA’s elite programs (Kansas won the NCAA title in 2008 and played in the championship game in 2012) and has become the best player on a team that starts four seniors, including center Jeff Withey (13.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 4.0 bpg). McLemore’s Jayhawks finished with a 26-5 record and are a legitimate national title contender.

Of course, McLemore isn’t without his troubles.

In high school, McLemore played with former Florida Gator and current Washington Wizard Bradley Beal in St. Louis. He soon transferred to the famous Oak Hill Academy (Carmelo Anthony, Michael Beasley, Josh Smith and even current Magic guard Doron Lamb played there, among others). However, McLemore was thrown out of school for violating team rules. After choosing to play at Kansas, he was ruled ineligible to play his first year due to academics. He has since matured and has stayed out of trouble.

McLemore’s speed and quickness have made him an excellent player in transition and could lead him to becoming a more-than-solid defender as well. However, if McLemore wants to handle the ball in the pros, he’s going to have to improve greatly in that area.

With the Magic having needs nearly everywhere, McLemore would be a very nice addition.

Projections:

Draft Express: Orlando Magic at #2 overall

NBADraft.net: Charlotte Bobcats at #1 overall

Hoops World (Yannis Koutroupis): Charlotte Bobcats at #1 overall

ESPN (Chad Ford): Charlotte Bobcats at #1 overall

CBS Sports (Jeff Goodman): Orlando Magic at #2 overall

McLemore and the Jayhawks will take on Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament at 3:00 pm EST. The game will be shown on ESPN2.

(Andrew Melnick is the Sr. Distinguished Blogger for Magic Basketball Online and a contributor at SB Nation. Andrew has covered the Orlando Magic for four years and also works as a radio host. You can follow him on twitter here.)

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