The Case For Ben McLemore, Kansas: #1 Overall in 2013 NBA Draft
Move over Shabazz Muhammed. You're no longer alone atop NBA Draft Boards as a potent scoring wing. Kansas' Ben McLemore has emerged- not only excelling scorer, but a more efficient one and more complete player all-around. On most Draft Boards, the Jayhawk wing has eclipsed UCLA's Shabazz Muhammed as the top wing prospect and the favorite contender to go #1 Overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.
McLemore is the nation's top freshman this year, emerging for a Kansas squad that lost its top two scorers from last season and whose Big 12 Title streak was seen in jeopardy. He has garnered the honors for being the top athlete in the class with a versatile game, great size and top-notch scoring instincts. He leads the Jayhawks in scoring at 17 points (.510 field goal percentage; .459 3-point percentage; .893 free-throw percentage) to go along with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block per game. And McLemore is still growing his game and becoming more comfortable go-to role coach Bill Self needs him to be as evidenced by his season-high 33 points (on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor, 6-for-6 from 3-point range, and 7-for-7 from the foul line), including the game-tying shot at the end of regulation against Iowa State most recently.
He has played some of his best basketball in the big games early-on this season: 33 points against Iowa State in overtime. 22 points against Ohio State on the road. 24 points against a Colorado team that is defensively stout.
At 6'5", McLemore has good size and is still filling in his 195-pound length frame. But most of all, he is one of, if not the top athlete eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft. He can explode off the floor, attacking the rim with vengeance or be aggressive on the glass as one of the better rebounding guards in the class.
As a perimeter shooting, McLemore has seen his ups and downs: 0-for-7 from 3-point range against San Jose and 2-for-6 against Colorado from deep, but in these two contests, McLemore showed he is resilient, not just settling for jump shots, but attacking the rim as he was a collective 13-for-14 from the foul line in these two games. He is still developing an adequate handle and confidence in his ball-handling skills to set-up his own shot more efficiently and keep defenses even more off-balance.