Ben McLemore, No. 4 (Mock)
Charlotte selects an elite scorer from Kansas.
by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17
Hey, it’s only June 1. No one really knows how this Draft will shake out. As the Bobcats’ recently hired VP in Charge of Making the 4th Pick and Nothing Else (a-You didn’t know MJ and I were close like that, did you? b-It beats getting a real job.), I have very little confidence that Ben McLemore will still be on the board when I have my moment in the sun. My hunch is that I’ll be choosing between Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo—no slouches, but they both make me a smidge nervous.
But the man who shares my first name, Ben McLemore, is still out there in this SLAM Draft? Forget five minutes—I’m making this pick in five seconds!
With the fourth pick in the 2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select…
Ben McLemore from Kansas.
Why are we so gassed to get this 6-5, 190-pound shooting guard? He’s got a great, NBA-ready physique. He’s very athletic. He’s fun to watch. He’s a great shooter—everywhere from three-point range, to the free-throw line to the rim. Check out some of his accomplishments last season at one of the nation’s finest programs:
• Second-Team All-American
• First-Team Freshman All-American
• Wooden Award Finalist
• Set a KU freshman record with 589 points scored on a 15.9 ppg average while becoming the first Jayhawk freshman ever to score more than 500 points (the great Danny Manning went for 14.6 ppg and 496 total points in ’85).
• Made 42 percent of his three-point attempts and 87 percent of his free throws (told you he could shoot).
• Averaged a very solid 5.2 rpg.
He’s the rare top prospect these days to have sat out a full year, having been red-shirted for academic reasons in the ’11-12 season. And with a February birthday, this makes McLemore a relatively experienced 20-year-old player, as opposed to some 18-year-old true freshman.
As McLemore said at his press conference on the day he announced he was turning pro, “I learned a lot. From sitting out last year and now being able to play, I learned a lot. I’m trying to be more aggressive and Coach was on me about that each and every day. I learned a lot playing for this program, and I matured a lot and became who I am.”
McLemore’s athleticism and skill set are such that I think he’ll be able to contribute immediately. He’s a baller who will defend from jump and be able to get shots in transition and off of broken plays. All of that has immense value to the Bobcats (more on us in a moment).
What fears do I have? McLemore’s “career” has certainly lacked structure. He spent time at multiple high schools, and the two years at Kansas did include just the one year of playing. So he hasn’t been coached with much consistency. He also hasn’t played much NBA-style halfcourt offense, I.e. pick and rolls. Can he tighten his game up and thrive in a structured NBA offense? Probably not in his first year, but we think he will before long. Also, while for sake of this column/decision we’re going with what Kansas listed him at, his pre-Draft measurements were closer to 6-3.5 (without shoes), which is certainly a little short. I don’t see the height making a big difference on long-range shots or in transition, but it’s an added question mark around his ability to play half-court offense, and possibly defense as well.
As for my team, the Bobcats? Keeping it all the way real, we’re still so bad that “best player available” is the ONLY strategy we can bring to a Draft. Oh, Kemba will be around for a long time. My man Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, too. But they’re not superstars. If there was a point guard or small forward to take now, we’d do it and let KW and MKG get in where they fit in. If Nerlens somehow dropped to this pick, we’d take him and run. But the way this Draft is going, McLemore is unquestionably the guy for us.
We’ve got Gerald Henderson? OK. Bismack Biyombo? Intriguing. Byron Mullens? Nifty. Ben Gordon, Brendan Haywood, Ramon Sessions and Tyrus Thomas? Yawn. And that’s pretty much where our roster is at the moment. Seems to me we can plug in McLemore for 35 minutes from the first game of the season and just let him rock.
The more I think about it, actually, this is gonna be a historic pick. It’s the last Bobcats pick ever—remember, we’re the Hornets again in 2014.
And it’ll be the first Bobcats’ pick to be an All-Star.
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|