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Friday, June 28, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Teams will regret passing on McLemore

Kansas' Ben McLemore, picked by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the NBA basketball draft, speaks during a news conference Thursday, June 27, 2013, in New York.

Kansas' Ben McLemore, picked by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the NBA basketball draft, speaks during a news conference Thursday, June 27, 2013, in New York.

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In letting Ben McLemore slip all the way to seventh in Thursday night’s draft, NBA general managers were guilty of obsessing on Cindy Crawford’s mole, the hitch in Jim Furyk’s golf swing, the raspy flatness to Bob Dylan’s voice.

In a classic case of paralysis by over-analysis, those who passed on McLemore overlooked the obvious. The Kansas shooting guard has a better shot and more athleticism than anybody drafted, qualities that make him a potential star at both ends and at his best in transition.

In obsessing on his passive personality, they also overlooked how well he responded to Bill Self’s coaching and how much he cares about improving his game.

Can’t quarrel much with the Cleveland Cavaliers for drafting mega-talent Anthony Bennett of UNLV with the top pick. And I loved that the Charlotte Bobcats had the guts to select Cody Zeller, a terrific outside shooter who didn’t have a chance to showcase that at Indiana, fourth.

The other four teams that passed on McLemore showed no guts. Picking second, the Orlando Magic went the safe route and took Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, who plays the same position as McLemore. With the third selection, the Washington Wizards did the same, avoiding risk with Georgetown’s Otto Porter, a solid small forward.

The Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans, drafting for the Philadelphia 76ers, played a different sort of safe game, opting for centers. Size is hard to find in the draft, the analysts love to say, and general managers can get away with swinging and missing on big guys more than on wings. Injury risks Alex Len and Nerlens Noel were selected before McLemore went to the Kings.

It’s probably for the better that McLemore didn’t go to the Suns, where he could have been, ahem, mentored by Marcus and Markieff Morris and Michael Beasley.

McLemore’s headed to a lousy team blessed with a good coach, the right kind of teacher for a young-for-his-age (20) rookie. Mike Malone is not an insecure screamer. His father, Brendan Malone, now an assistant for Mike in Sacramento, has coached in the NBA for 25 years, almost all as an assistant. Nice people, the coaching Malones.

Now it’s up to McLemore to use the disappointment at lasting until the seventh pick to fuel him to Rookie of the Year honors on the way to multiple All-Star game appearances.

McLemore must do what those who passed on him didn’t. He must dare to be great, not stay comfortable by fading into the background and letting veterans hog the ball. He floats like Scottie Pippen and shoots like Ray Allen. If he can try his hardest to compete even a bit like Michael Jordan, he’ll make a lot of men feel really stupid for a long, long time. Even gentle Ben, a nice, kind sort, would derive great pleasure out of that.

Comments

William Blake 9 months, 2 weeks ago

BMac should feel fortunate to go 7. After picking a total newbie agent... Blackstone added risk to selecting BMac. He's an unknown, totally-inexperienced agent who could quickly muddy BMac's career.

He wouldn't have been any worse off to blow out his ACL and have a real agent.

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Clarence Haynes 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Why would the Wizards pick BMac when has Beal? Porter is a good fit with Wall and Beal the latter two who late in the season began to show signs of being a good tandem. IMO, no sense in criticizing Washington for their selection and they won't regret it!

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Steve Gantz 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Teams regretted not drafting me too.

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Alright, a final final on this thread.

Ben, get that horrible excuse for a hat off your head!!!!!!!!

If ever there were a face that cried out for either a Borsalino fedora, or better yet, one of the old Zoot Suit hats, it is Ben Three's.

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Here's a recommendation for the a really ironic name for New Orleans.

The New Orleans Dry Heat.

(rimshot!)

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Ralster Jayhawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Pelicans worst name in sports! Could care less about state bird or state ties, when the damn bird is so ugly, one just cannot take such a mascot seriously. "Beavers" is not any better. Then there are Jackrabbits and Bunnies, just as awful.

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guithawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The bottom line is that at most only 6 General Managers will regret not taking Ben.

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havecents 9 months, 3 weeks ago

2 things.... 1. You are blasting organizations for not picking Ben when you admit he is passive. You call them "safe" picks.... Of course. In a weak draft with no difference makers, why would you take chances? 2. Are you people seriously making fun of team names? C'mon.... What's a Jayhawk and been awhile since I've seen one flying around Kansas. Saw one walking around with yellow shoes with a buckle on them though. Just saying.... Grizzlies in Memphis or Lakers in L.A. is worse?

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LJ Whirled 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Speaking of "regret" ... folks 'round here may yet come to regret that Ben and his people were taking goodies and cash from his agent. I cannot believe we've heard that last of that.

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midwest_muser 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If he grows up, they might. If not, they dodged a bullet.

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jay_cheese 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, Cali has a high tax rate...but that has nothing to do with this article or the other comments. Unlike BB73, I bet Ben is ok with paying taxes on income rather than having no income. I could make a few other assumptions but I leave it at asking people to keep their politics where they belong, inside of the voting booth.

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NavyVet 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Josh who? Xavier who? Brandon who? Julian who?

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Richard Benson 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Six NBA teams mistook Ben McLemore for Josh Selby.

That is a HUGE miscalculation.

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Ludwig Supraphonic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Generally agree Tom. Though I don't see Charlotte adding a outside shooting 5 to their soft and squishy center as courageous.

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Steve Corder 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Wait until Ben gets sticker stock over a 2.6 million annual salary that will be reduced by approximately 60 to 65% in taxes (California & other states' income tax, Federal, Medicare, SS(minuscule), Affordable Health Care Tax and agent's commission).

I hope I never see him on an ESPN 30 For 30 program 30 years from now!

Like an old time Hollywood actor answered when asked how he went through $10 million: What I didn't spend on gambling and women I spent foolishly....Ben, buy a Honda. Rent a 2 BR apt. and save the rest until you're crowded a "king" on the NBA floor.

Good Luck!

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Tony Bandle 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Did you all see the number of French guys that got drafted?? When did France become a BBall Power?

Oh well, at least they will be able to prepare some fabulous post game dinners for their teams........'''escargot souffles, anyone??!!

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Phognatic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Disappointing to not see Releford get drafted. I thought that the prediction of it being a 50/50 chance was fair, and the economic advantages of drafting European projects likely cut into his chances. I still think that with his defense, transition efficiency, and ability to knock down open shots, he will land on a roster. Hoping, I guess...

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jay_cheese 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Great article Tom. I think many fans feel the same way as you on this and you present some very fair minded points as well. Props

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FearlessJayhawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I like it that he was drafted lucky number seven, the same number that Paul Pierce was drafted. Prediction: Ben will be a star no matter where he plays as long as he stays healthy. All they have to do is get him an open shot and it will be lights out.

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Phognatic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It wouldn't have been good for Self and KU in general, but after he didn't go to Cleveland, I was hoping he would slide to Minnesota with Love and Rubio, he could slide around the court and quietly rain in 12-13 ppg and develop a better handle.

Although, Keegan is not incorrect about the lack of mentors on a number of the teams that passed on Ben, I'm not sure Sacramento is that much better...aka Demarcus Cousins. Hopefully now that their owner and arena concerns are resolved they can start spending on roster instead of keeping the team in a perpetual garage sale mode.

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Virgil_Caine 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It felt like teams were making deals just to steer clear of this draft, and other teams were just plain gambling. Craziest draft I can remember. There were no sure things this year, but I do believe McLemore has one of the brightest futures of anyone that was out there if he can develop on schedule. Best of luck!

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Vince Brown 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It would be nice, if after 3 or 4 seasons, those 6 teams that passed on BMac feel like they drafted Sam Bowie.

1

Preston Dwiggins 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I loved his #23 KU jersey sewn in the inside of his jacket last night! Once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk!! Being #7 will keep his appetite wet for quite a while kinda like it did with Tom Brady (6th round or #199) I'm sure.

1

dylans 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I actually, mostly agree with Keegan this time.

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Robert Brock 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Self set up an offense that created space for McLemore to get off shots. In The League, Ben is going to have to put the ball on the floor, move around, and create his own shot. Will it work out for the kid?

0

doolindalton 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I liked the lead of the story. There are going to be a lot more GMs who will regret passing on Withey.

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jhox 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If Ben wants to make them regret passing on him he's going to have to significantly improve his ball handling, specifically his left hand. If he does that successfully, he can be an NBA all star. I'm rooting for him to do that, but the only way he will is with very hard work.

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Michael Maris 9 months, 3 weeks ago

You know, if this NBA Basketball gig doesn't work out for Ben. Perhaps, he could move to Hollywood and be a double for Jamie Foxx. Good Luck Ben. Hope Sacramento is more patient with you than they were with T-Rob.

1

Lee Henry 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Just hope he keeps his head on straight and gets a good financial advisor.....hope you do well Kid.....Jayhawk fan since the 50's...............

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DRsmith 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This draft was complete garbage. One of the weakest I remember. There are no superstars including McLemore. He is a very good player, but a dime a dozen in the NBA.

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Richard Heckler 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Whether anyone regrets passing on McLemore is irrelevant. Going out at number 7 considering the many many choices is very very sweet. You won't find Ben feeling bad.

Not only that .... don't we know the other schools who chose the first six are saying too bad others did not choose our pick.

Ben has been among the few players that consistently was fun to watch. Thanks Ben for dropping by. Paul Pierce was another one.

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Jim Erickson 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Anthony Bennet will rival Kwame Brown as one of the worst #1 picks in history.

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Danny Hernandez 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Blackstock, no stock, it doesn't matter. You don't pass on one of the most pure shooters in the NBA draft with one of the highest ceilings....

Stupid, stupid. anyone remember Paul Pierce? 10th pick in the NBA draft! how'd that end up for those idiot GM's that passed on him?

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Janet Scott 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The NBA must be run by a Gomer Pyle intellectual type.

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Robbk1066 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Blackstock's preparation is to blame here. Really bad advice for this whole process.

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mojayhawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

"Dare to be great". Good advice, Ben. Best of luck to you. You were a pleasure to watch in a Kansas uniform.

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Charlotte's moves keep making MJseem a poster boy for the Peter Principle.

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jaybate 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Isn't Pelicans the worst name for a hoop team EVER?

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actorman 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Isn't Charlotte now the Hornets and not the Bobcats any more?

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Nathan Scholl 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope Ben makes all the GM's that passed on him sorry for years to come. He has to WANT it though. Rooting for you Ben. Rock Chalk the league!

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