I’m old enough to remember when Ben McLemore was pegged by some as the “next Ray Allen.” (I am not that old). McLemore’s decline from possible franchise player to the fringes of the NBA has been swift.
McLemore was drafted seventh overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings and spent four seasons producing unconvincing results before signing a multi-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2017. After just one season, the Grizzlies decided to trade him back to the Kings, where he’s spent the entire season mostly glued to the bench.
Stuck behind younger and more promising players like DeAaron Fox, Buddy Hield and, uh, Yogi Ferrell, I guess, McLemore appeared in just 19 games for the Kings and averaged just eight minutes per game before the Kings waived him shortly after the trade deadline.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend to tell you that McLemore still has star potential. McLemore is basically what he is at this point, a 6’5 wing with a decent shooting stroke and little else.
But there is something to be said about buying low on a player.
McLemore likely wants to go to a team that will offer him a sizable amount of playing time so he can show that he still has the ability to be a quality player ahead of his impending free agency. However, he was released by the Kings nearly two weeks ago and has yet to sign elsewhere.
That tells me that not many teams are interested in giving the 26-year-old a shot. For all ofhis faults (like being just terrible on defense), McLemore possesses many traits the Bucks would love to have in another wing off the bench.
He’s got good size at 6’5, 200 pounds and is a 35 percent career three-point shooter. He’s no Kyle Korver, but he can knock down an open shot. And the Bucks are always looking for shooters, especially on the wing.
With McLemore absent of any other offers, he may decide his best bet is to sign with the Bucks and hope he can at least get the chance to play in Budenholzer’s let-it-fly offense, which suits his skills perfectly.
Budenholzer has shown throughout the season that he’s not afraid to give a player at the end of the bench an opportunity and to go back to that player if he makes the most out of that opportunity.
Who knows, McLemore may get a shot in some April game with the Bucks, get hot from outside and become a regular member of the rotation come the playoffs. It’s not an impossible scenario.
Signing McLemore would be a better move for the Bucks than it would be for McLemore, but unless some other team offers a better opportunity, it could be the best fit for both sides.