The Sacramento Kings selected Ben McLemore out of the University of Kansas with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft. It was a surprise he’d fallen that far, and the Kings were very glad to have him. “Ben McLemore was our dream choice from the get-go,” owner Vivek Ranadivé said after the draft. “I did say that when we got the No. 7 pick that seven was my lucky number. So we felt seven was our lucky number and sure enough, we got the guy that we all were dreaming about.” It seemed like the Kings had scored the rich man’s Bradley Beal, or the next Klay Thompson: A true shooting guard with a sweet stroke, good size, and terrific athletic gifts, who projected to grow into an all-court engine of offense at the sport’s thinnest position.
...they’re taking him back from the Memphis Grizzlies as a part of a package of miscellaneous refuse in exchange for 32-year-old itinerant former D-leaguer Garrett Temple and his career 5.5 points-per-game scoring average. Ooooooof.
It’s sort of uncomfortably paradoxical, but McLemore is working on—completing, soon, probably—one of the most forgettable careers by a top-10 pick in history. (Which will not remember him.) Finishing as a runner-up in the dunk contest in his rookie season* almost certainly is the peak of his time in the NBA; it hasn’t been all downhill from there so much as it’s been all flat and featureless, like Kansas. McLemore’s best pro season was his second: He mustered a personal-best 12.1 points per game—the only time he’s averaged double-digits over a season—and finished, for the only time (so far?) in his career, with a VORP that didn’t have a minus-sign in front of it. Last season, as a relatively low-risk speculative reclamation project in Memphis, he was as terrible as he’s ever been; his scoring average was a career-worst 7.5 per game, and his .526 true shooting percentage ranked 324th in the league. He has (had?) a really nice first step, good elevation on his jumper, and by all appearances absolutely zero interest in being any kind of professional basketball player.
Anyway, when I saw Woj’s tweet, my face detached from my skull and sagged down onto my clavicles and I made a sound like kkkaaauuuuuuuuhhhhhhh, so I figured I would share it with you.
*He dunked over a big chair with Shaquille O’Neal sitting in it, then put on a hat.