Ben McLemore: The Defender
Ben McLemore is turning into a very disruptive defender, not a guy who just locks down his guy on the perimeter, but a guy who is exteremly disruptive, getting in the passing lanes, blocking shots, and like many SG's with elite athleticism and a committment to defense, he's filling up the stat sheet and more than that becoming an energizer and crowd catalist to his team.
This was very evident when he blocked two shots, with great authority in a 30 seconds span on the help side during transition and then stole the ball for an open court assist not more than two minutes later.
Since Big 12 play has started Ben McLemore is averaging 1.6 SPG and 1.8 BPG to go with 17.4 ppg.
Don't just look at his offensive numbers and the fact he's nearly 50.40/90 on the season, but I think what sets him apart from a run in the mill top 10 SG prospect is what he could do as a defensive player paired with his more obvious offensive ability.
I'm becoming a bigger fan by the day.
Had watched the two previous games and saw the 2nd half of KU vs. K-State, McLemore is just an incredibly smooth player. He has had a number of fantastic swats, he runs the floor exceptionally well and obviously has rare athletic talent. His handle definitely needs some work and he does not necessarily create a great deal of opportunities for himself in the half court, but he is locking into one of the top spots in this draft.
Multiple coaches over the past few years have talked up their players with disappointing results. Bill Self has not been one to usually mince words and he seems to be right on about this kid. Am still not sure I put Ben at the #1 spot, though I have him behind only Shabazz right now. He is much more athletic than Shabazz and he has a great stroke, just feel that Shabazz is longer, stronger and more programmed to score.
McLemore has very much emerged as a #1 candidate in his group and what he has shown defensively could put him at the top. One can definitely see him improving and translating to the NBA level and I am guessing people will start to talk about him as a top 5, maybe even top 3 lock. My feeling is, you have two potential talented high level wing scoring options in McLemore and Muhammad, with their rarity outweighing the potential one might see in the big men in this year's draft. Could change my mind, just think these two guys might be the best prospects in this draft right now.
Definable a big fan. Will follow his career with interest.
His defensive 'streak' right now is demonstrating he's learning to use his athleticism that that end. I noted on another forum that he's still not a high-impact defender but he's getting there. He certainly has the speed & length to be really good. His only real gap in skills is his handle and passing ability. But he's such a good off-ball scorer, I don't think that is going to matter. All being well, a guy that can match Ray Allen's scoring & spacing, whilst being a 'good' defender, is going to be a multiple All Star. I hope he gets there.
He looked like a solid defender from the start of the season to me. He plays with good intensity and obviously has the physical tools. He wasn't bad at it, but he was lacking a little in the awareness dep't which is understandable since he hadn't played in live action for a while.
He's a good defender as is, but he has the tools to be a very good one.
Also, I think he's shown to be a pretty good passer as well. He's not much of a playmaker, but he's unselfish, he'll move the ball around and he'll make the right pass if the play calls for it. His unselfishness combined with his shooting ability is what makes him such a threat coming off of singles, doubles and curls since he's always a threat to hit the open man if the defense overplays.
He does have good passing instinct and good touch on lob and finesse passes. He doesn't look to create, but he makes the smart pass and is great about being unselfish in transition. He just has a really good feel for the game, on both sides of the ball. That, I feel, is why he's such a good weak side shot blocker too. It's just him using his athletic ability to accentuate his feel for the game.