Thursday, July 18, 2013

McLemore: Summer league struggles correctable

Sacramento Kings Ben McLemore, left, goes up for a shot against Dallas Mavericks Jae Crowder in the third quarter of an NBA Summer League basketball game, Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Las Vegas.

Sacramento Kings Ben McLemore, left, goes up for a shot against Dallas Mavericks Jae Crowder in the third quarter of an NBA Summer League basketball game, Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Las Vegas.


Sacramento Kings rookie Ben McLemore’s shooting has been spotty and his ballhandling a bit sloppy in four NBA summer league games — all losses — in Las Vegas.

“That’s the whole reason why I’m here playing in the summer league, just to get better and work on some things,” the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Kansas University told reporters after Wednesday’s 38-point loss to Minnesota.

That’s a game in which the 6-foot-5 McLemore went 0-for-8 from the field, dropping his shooting percentage to 28 percent (16 of 57) entering today’s game against Atlanta.

“I know when I get back after summer league, I know there’s things I need to work on. Even the night before I got here, I knew there’s things I need to work on, my all around game, my ballhandling, stuff like that, touching up. The whole summer league is about getting a feel for the NBA life, getting to know the NBA style. That’s the whole reason I’m here,” McLemore added.

McLemore had three turnovers and no assists in the Minnesota blowout.

“I think as he improves his ballhandling and his ability to break down his man off the dribble, that’s going to open up a whole other facet of his game,” Kings’ coach Michael Malone told the Sacramento Bee. “He’s too athletic to settle for jump shots.”

McLemore has had one outstanding game in Vegas. He scored 26 points — 22 in the second half on 7-of-10 shooting — in a loss to Toronto.

“More importantly was Ben kind of emerged and did the things we know he can do (vs. Toronto). Not that that was a requirement, either, but it was nice to see it,” said Kings’ general manager Pete D’Alessandro.

Summer league may have served to lower expectations for McLemore a bit, which may not be a bad thing.

“It gives you something to look at,” Kings’ summer league coach Chris Jent said of summer league stats. “If nothing else, you look back at it and say, ‘What do I need to do? What are the good things I did?’ And as coaches, it allows you to help them more.”

Releford scoreless: Former KU guard Travis Releford did not take a shot, while totaling one assist, one rebound and two turnovers in Denver’s 95-78 loss to Toronto on Thursday in Vegas. He picked up four fouls while playing seven minutes.

Twins winning: Former KU power forward Markieff Morris scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while former KU small forward Marcus Morris had seven points and three boards in Phoenix’s 92-84 win over Portland on Thursday. Former KU forward Thomas Robinson had 14 points and 11 boards for Portland.

The Morris twins bought a house in Phoenix in March, the Arizona Republic reports. They practiced together twice a day at the Phoenix Suns’ U.S. Airways Center prior to the start of summer league.

Marcus had a rocky final month of the season after being traded from Houston to Phoenix to be reunited with Markieff. He was benched four games by interim coach Lindsey Hunter and played fewer than 10 minutes in five others.

“That was last year,” Marcus told “You’ve got to keep it behind you. This year, I’ve been in Phoenix a lot, just working hard and getting my body right and getting in better shape. I’m happy that me and Keef actually played summer league, because it helps us go right into the season in good shape and we can keep building from here. I’ve been happy since I’ve been here. I’m just excited to see what the season brings. I think me and Keef are really going to change the team this season,” Marcus added.

Jackson hits for six: Former KU forward Darnell Jackson scored six points off 3-of-7 shooting and grabbed five rebounds while playing 17 minutes in the NBA D-League Select team’s 83-75 victory over Minnesota.

Deadline today: Order deadline for 2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets is today. Season tickets are available and all fans are eligible to order season tickets. For information click here or call the KU ticket office at 800-34-HAWKS.

Happy birthday to Ted: Former KU coach Ted Owens celebrated his 84th birthday on Tuesday in Tulsa, Okla.

Recruiting: Derrick Jones, a 6-6 junior forward from Bishop Carroll in Radnor, Pa., has been offered a scholarship by KU, ESPN reports. He also has received offers from Kentucky, Syracuse, Villanova, Maryland, Seton Hall, Temple and St. Joseph’s. He’s ranked 11th in the recruiting Class of 2015 by


Kevin Dongle III 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm hearing more and more buzz connecting Cliff Alexander to Kansas. Apparently this whole Jerrance Howard thing is for real. He had plenty of good stuff to say in this article too:

Alexander could probably start over Embiid if needs be, and he'd certainly be one to challenge Ellis. If Embiid OADs, then it's just kismet as he'd start over Traylor, Mickleson, or Lucas. As much talk as there has been about him landing at MSU, lately it seems the tide had shifted. I'd take him or Myles Turner in a heart beat.

Oubre also still sounds really high on KU too, but I have a hard time believing he'll want to come given how much competition there could be at the wings. His best case scenario is if Wigs and Selden both decide to OAD. Even then, space in the guard rotation isn't going to be easy to come by. If we manage not to lose anyone, there's still going to be 4 - 5 guys lined up competing for 3 starting spots. In the 2014-15 season, you could do a lot worse than have Tharpe, Frankamp, Mason, White, and Greene running your back court. Is a freshman Oubre really going to beat out any of those guys?

I still think we're going to get one good guy unless Oubre really sees himself as a 3 - 4 year player that is willing to spend a year on the bench working on his game. Alexander, Oubre, or Turner would be each be great to get but whoever it is out of the three, it's likely going to depend on more than the presently taken for granted number of OADs or some transfers to make that happen.

KUFan90 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm picking up what konkey is putting down.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 2 months ago

I thought I saw that Oubre's 6'-7 and DEFINITELY more of a SF than a G.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 2 months ago

So Coach Cal will turn him into another Terrance Jones. And that is a good thing because...?

David Hall 9 years, 2 months ago


ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 2 months ago

The one thing that happens no matter how crappy Ben plays in Vegas...still gets paid!

Ethan Berger 9 years, 2 months ago

You know who dominated summer league? Josh Shelby. Summer league is mainly for 2nd round and undrafted kids trying to showcase what they can do. There is no game planning and no foul outs. Ben will be fine. If he learns to dribble and create his own shot, he will be an all star.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

lol - don't read anything into this, I loved BMAC while he was here, but just reading that statement made me literally laugh out loud.

" If he learns to dribble and create his own shot, he will be an all star. "

To me, a guy that's getting paid a gazillion dollars to play basketball should already know how to do that.

Mike Barnhart 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm very happy for Ben but the LJW seems to have the impression he's some kind of superstar. He was a top 20 recruit who put together a sparkling 6 week run last winter. After that, his conference season was okay, his post season was shaky and he was drafted 7th in a bad NBA draft.

Ted Hume 9 years, 2 months ago

I think that Self commenting last season that Ben was: "the most talented player I've ever coached" and that "athletically, he's off the charts" and that "Ben can do things no other player I've had can do" etc., etc. have a little to do with the high expectations we all have for Ben, wouldn't you think? That kind of top-tier NBA athleticism combined with a natural and frankly effortless-looking NBA long-distance shooting stroke are exactly why he's not just another top 20 HS recruit. All the experts agreed that he was way under-rated in HS and that his class ranking was obviously a missed evaluation of his talent. These are awfully good reasons to have the impression that he's a potential superstar. Of course these aren't guarantees for success, but justifications for high expectations.

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

McLemore has to realize that talk is cheap. He can talk all he wants about how good he is going to get. Unfortunately, upper management only wants to see results. If he doesn't get his butt into gear and prove he is as good as advertised, he will end up like Selby.

dylans 9 years, 2 months ago

Easy, Bens just getting his feet wet. Give the young man a chance.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 2 months ago

One of the most pure shots ever....needs to shake some rust and he'll be fine.

ljmhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

you guys need to relax, it's summer league and they dont run any sort of offense at all. once the season starts he will be playing better because they will be setting screens/plays for ben, he will be just fine.

hawksince51 9 years, 2 months ago

Happy to read that Keef is continuing to tear up summer league. Marcus probably has a lot to learn playing the SF but I have to think he will also do very well in AZ. When Manning was made Asst Coach of the Bigs, I thought that would bode well for KU players doing well in the NBA at the 4 and 5. And of course Hudy factors into this as well. Good to see Keef demonstrating this. So far as Ben, not surprised his lack of strong ball handling skills is hurting him. And that will be a lot worse in the regular season. He has a lot to learn in that regard. I am surprised about his shooting problems. Could be related to the better D he is facing now. But, as ahpers....... says, he will keep banking the checks in the meantime. A part of me enjoys seeing the NBA overpay for "potential" in underclassmen even when they are former KU players.

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 2 months ago

At least Ben is playing and getting practice time in. It is a time to see some things he needs to work on. Lets face it, he doesn't have a PG that's getting the ball to him and doubt they are setting him up for good shots right now. I've watched the summer league and it is a step up from street ball. Lets see how the regular season progresses. With Tyreke gone I'm not even sure who will be the starting PG there, to be honest I was hoping he wasn't going to the Kings because its not a very good situation. Hope they dump Cousins because he's a cancer.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Its been a few days since Chad Ford has dissed what went on inadequately on the inside of a former KU player's head in the NBA and attributed it to "Talk around the League." What's the matter? Is Chad busy grinding other agendas?

Sparko 9 years, 2 months ago

If anyone watched the last game, and I did, two of the "turn-overs" were fouls that should have gone the other way. They didn't, and Ben had to sit. He was fouled on a dunk, not called. He passed the ball to team mates who were not looking for cross court looks. In essence, he learned what it is like to not play at Kansas. The Sacramento summer league team was awful. And imbalanced--no big men. Lebron would have struggled. Ben needs to work and work hard, but only an idiot like Chad Ford would read ANYTHING into these pick-up games. Players not named BMac were just trying to get noticed. That means selfish, stupid play mostly. Thankfully, TRob was smart enough to just fight for rebounds. Chuckers gonna chuck and all that. The Summer League experiment should end--the teams need to hire enough guys for closed scrimmages.

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 2 months ago

We all know Ben's strengths and weaknesses, therefore it should be no surprise that they are surfacing. He just needs to refine his dribbling, passing and defense. It should all fall into place as long as he works hard and truly believes he is who we have made him out to be...a natural scorer who can take over the game.

TheBoHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Well, I think he's coming into his own with regard to all of that... He just went for 27 and 9 vs. the Hawks today.. the 27, btw is the Summer League high mark... I hope he ignores all of the talking heads and just plays ball.

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