TrueHoop: Ben McLemore

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 9 grades

July, 20, 2014
Jul 20
12:37
AM ET
By Andrew Han and Fred Katz
ESPN.com

Here are 11 notable performances from Day 9 at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas:

Glen Rice Jr., Washington Wizards | Grade: A
Rice continued his scoring spurt at summer league in dropping a game-high 36 points, including six 3-pointers, in the Wizards’ triple-overtime win over the Spurs. The league’s leading scorer still hasn’t dropped fewer than 22 in any game while in Vegas. Add 11 boards to Saturday’s effort, and Rice is truly making his case for summer league MVP. -- Katz

Noah Vonleh, Charlotte Hornets | Grade: B-plus
Summer league is hard for a big man. Teammates consistently looked off Vonleh’s rim rolls, settling for breaking down the defense or taking contested shots. When the first-round pick did get the ball, the passes were poor or dumped off in awkward spaces on the floor. Vonleh crashed the boards, though, and collected 10 rebounds (five offensive) in the first three quarters. He also shot 3-for-4 in the fourth quarter to help secure the Hornets' advancement, with 15 total points. --Han

Nik Stauskas, Sacramento Kings | Grade: C-plus
Stauskas' making shots shouldn’t be news, so his hitting both of his 3-point attempts in a win over the Bulls isn’t particularly shocking, but the rookie struggled in other aspects of the game, mainly in court awareness on the offensive end. He struggled to create for teammates when dribbling around screens (usually a strength of his) and even passed up a late three to take one dribble in and sink a heel-on-the-line 2-pointer instead. It wasn’t a bad shot, per se; he just wasn’t playing to his strengths, a theme throughout Saturday’s contest. -- Katz

Otto Porter Jr., Washington Wizards | Grade: A-minus
Porter and Rice are like the Jordan and Pippen of Las Vegas Summer League; the two of them worked so intuitively together in the Wizards’ close victory over the Spurs. Porter, specifically, handled the ball as he did in college, with him bringing the rock up the court, often leading the break and finding Rice for a go-ahead transition 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. As well as he played, though, scoring 27 points of his own, the question remains whether the former No. 3 overall pick can find comfort in a more off-the-ball role in Washington, something he’ll have to adapt to as he plays with John Wall and Bradley Beal. -- Katz

Vander Blue, San Antonio Spurs | Grade: A-minus
Former Marquette coach Buzz Williams is like the NBA’s version of Red Bull. His players provide the league with energy, he gives it wings, and he always looks like he has condensation on him. Blue is one of those wings, and he showed off his pesky defensive skills against the Wizards -- literally taking the ball away from opposing guards on a couple possessions Saturday night. But where Blue stood out from his usual self was in his ability to create for others, distribute on dribble-drives and make a couple perfect bounce passes to set his buddies up for scores. -- Katz

Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks | Grade: B-plus
Hardaway showed the complete arsenal of shot-chucking. The Knicks guard largely stayed clear of driving the lane until the final frame and shot 20 field goal attempts in 29 total minutes -- 15 of which came in 20 minutes over the first three quarters. To offer some context on how shot-happy Hardaway was, he had two fewer 3-point attempts than the rest of the Knicks combined. Still, he ended with an impressive 27 points in the Knicks’ 82-79 loss. --Han

P.J. Hairston, Charlotte Hornets | Grade: B-minus
Hairston was suckered into a chucker's duel with his Knicks counterpart, Hardaway. It was like a neutron star had imploded as Hairston and Hardaway both swallowed possessions in their head-to-head duel. The rookie burned too intensely, though, as the matchup instigated a taunting technical after a Hardaway offensive foul. --Han

Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks | Grade: A-minus
Another game with issues taking care of the ball -- four assists to four turnovers -- but the second-year point guard again exhibited calm in the chaos of summer league. Schroder consistently probed the lane and cycled through the paint with intentions to observe how the defense reacted. Although his shot wasn't falling, Schroder finished with two steals and 10 free throw attempts to go with seven rebounds. --Han

Donatas Motiejunas, Houston Rockets | Grade: A
The Rockets' big led all players with 19 points, rarely forcing the issue around the basket. Motiejunas focused most of his efforts on offense off secondary action -- after the dribble hand-off on the perimeter and quick leakouts to take advantage of the Hawks' more plodding bigs. D-Mo's continued increase in effort on the glass -- 13 rebounds in the Rockets’ win -- offers optimism for the third-year player’s ability to handle an elevated role next season. --Han

Tony Snell, Chicago Bulls | Grade: B
For someone who struggled as a long-range shooter in his rookie season, Snell has become a 3-point threat at summer league. The body control and release simply look more consistent, and they were fluid enough for the rising sophomore to pull off a four-point play in the third quarter of the Bulls’ “playoff” loss to the Kings. Pair the shooting with the ability to get to the rim, and Snell was really the only Bull able to create his own offense Saturday evening. –- Katz

Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings | Grade: B-minus
McLemore had a 0-to-18 assist-to-turnover ratio in Vegas last year. This season, it didn’t start out much better, as he gave the ball away 16 times in his first three summer league games while failing to record an assist. But over his past two contests, McLemore has been a little more controlled and totaled seven assists, compared to just five turnovers. The points total might have been down a little Saturday, but at the very least, it’s encouraging to see McLemore control the floor in non-scoring ways a little more competently. -- Katz

McLemore tops 2013 draft class

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
1:55
PM ET
By Ryan Feldman
ESPN.com
Archive

Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesBen McLemore's jump shot has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen.
Although opinions vary, advanced analytical data say the best prospect in this year’s NBA draft may be former Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore.

McLemore is efficient on both ends of the court and was extremely valuable to the Jayhawks last season. He led Division I freshmen in win shares -- a metric that estimates the number of wins contributed by a player due to his offense and defense.

Playmaking on offense

On offense, McLemore ranked seventh in points per play among the 220 players with at least 500 plays last season. Seth Curry was the only player invited to the 2013 draft combine who ranked higher.

Perhaps more impressive, McLemore’s 1.09 points per play was the highest average by a freshman with at least 500 plays since Michael Beasley and Kevin Love in 2007-08.

McLemore scored in a variety of ways at Kansas. He shot 48 percent on spot-up plays, 57 percent in transition and 60 percent in isolation.

His jump shot is perhaps his best attribute and one reason he's been compared to Ray Allen. McLemore shot 40 percent on jump shots last season, including 43 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers. Both stats ranked in the top 15 percentile last season.

Clutch-time performer

What about performing in clutch time? In the final five minutes of the second half and overtime with the score within five points, McLemore averaged 1.45 points per play, the most among all draft prospects with more than 10 plays, and shot 67 percent from the floor.

He most notably showed off his clutch shot-making ability in a game against Iowa State, when he made a game-tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime and carried his team to a victory with 33 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 6-for-6 on 3-point attempts.

Defense

Everyone knows about McLemore’s potential as a scoring guard, but there isn’t nearly as much talk about his defense.

Data from Synergy Sports Technology show that McLemore’s on-ball defense may have played a large part in Kansas leading the country in defensive field goal percentage last season.

Victor Oladipo is another shooting guard thought to be near the top of NBA draft boards, and although he is known as a ferocious defender, McLemore was the better on-ball defender last season, according to Synergy.

McLemore held opponents to 25 percent shooting as an on-ball defender, the lowest field goal percentage allowed among players who defended at least 250 plays last season. McLemore allowed 0.63 points per play compared with Oladipo’s 0.85.

McLemore also allowed fewer points per play on pick-and-rolls and defended jump shots better than Oladipo last season.

And finally, McLemore defended well in clutch time, holding opponents to 25 percent shooting, including 0-for-6 on 3-pointers.

So when looking at McLemore, remember that he's more than just a jump shooter. He displayed the entire package in his lone season in college.

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