Houston Rockets Roster: Looking at Ben McLemore, H-Town's latest acquisition
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey announced on Twitter that the Rockets have acquired guard Ben McLemore, with Shams Charania reporting the contract details. This adds further to Houston's depth in the backcourt.
Who is Ben McLemore again?
Banking on the 6'5 guard's shooting and athletic ability, Ben McLemore was drafted in 2013 by the Sacramento Kings after an impressive freshman year with the University of Kansas. Although he showed some flashes of his game eventually translating well in the NBA (even scoring a career-high 31 points his rookie year), the guard never really seemed to meet the expectations of what a 7th overall pick should be.
In his first four years with the Kings, he averaged 9.2 points, 1.2 assists, and 2.5 rebounds. With the Kings not re-signing him after his rookie contract was up, the athletic guard signed with the Grizzlies in 2017 for a two-year $10.7 million deal.
When Mike Conley went down for the 2017 season, McLemore was given more minutes to fill the gap left by the franchise star. He still showed he could shoot and dunk, even scoring 17 and 21 points on two separate occasions. However, it was clear that this increase in minutes and freedom on the court was only made for him to help the team tank for a high lottery pick.
Ben was eventually traded back to the Kings in 2018. Although he vastly improved his 3-point shooting to 41.5 percent, the team still did not see his overall game improve. The Kings thought his handles and defensive ability were still questionable, and he was deemed too passive at times. Throughout the season, Ben was given inconsistent playing time, averaging only eight minutes per game and scoring 3.9 points per game. McLemore was eventually waived by the team in February 2019.
We have never really seen Ben McLemore's career take off. Is it because he was drafted to a then unstable organization in Sacramento, playing with a new coach every year and with a questionable player development staff? Did he just not put enough work in? Was projecting him to be a more athletic Ray Allen too generous of a comparison back then?
It will be pretty interesting to see what the guard can offer with this change in the environment, and what the new-look Rockets plan to show this upcoming season. Ben McLemore might even finally thrive in this team's system. After all, he is only 26, athletic, and can shoot the three.