Friday, June 28, 2013

NBA vets: McLemore’s good, but don’t compare rookie to all-timer yet

Former Kansas University guard Ben McLemore, right, has drawn comparisons to Miami Heat guard Ray Allen, left, but NBA veterans say those comparisons, for now, are unfair to both McLemore and Allen.

Former Kansas University guard Ben McLemore, right, has drawn comparisons to Miami Heat guard Ray Allen, left, but NBA veterans say those comparisons, for now, are unfair to both McLemore and Allen.


— For the past few weeks, and, really, the past several months, former Kansas University basketball star Ben McLemore has heard hundreds of times how he compares favorably to 10-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA champion Ray Allen of the Miami Heat.

McLemore, they say, is about the same height as Allen — both are listed at 6-foot-5 — possesses a similar, sweet shooting stroke with unlimited range, and is a long and lean, mild-mannered wing, too.

The comparisons are kind, and McLemore, who was selected seventh overall by Sacramento in Thursday’s NBA Draft, told the Journal-World earlier this week that he was flattered every time he heard his name used alongside Allen’s.

But McLemore himself is far from an authority on how he measures up to Allen. Luckily, on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, there were a few people in the building who could speak with more confidence about McLemore’s resemblance to Allen.

“That’s a great comparison,” 2013 NBA champion and Allen’s Miami Heat teammate, Shane Battier, told the Journal-World at the draft. “That’s a great comparison. But there’s only one Ray Allen.”

Battier, a Duke grad who said he saw McLemore play a few times during the 2012-13 season, said he liked McLemore’s game.

“I think Ben has a chance to be a special player because of all of his physical gifts,” Battier said. “But it’s up to him. A lot of guys have come into the league with great physical gifts and not done anything with them.”

Another player to whom McLemore has been compared of late was at the draft on Thursday. Second-year Golden State forward Harrison Barnes spoke with the Journal-World on his way out of the arena and said he thought comparing anybody to a player as accomplished as Allen, the NBA’s all-time leading three-point shooter, was tough to justify.

“What I’ve seen of him, he’s obviously a great two-way player,” Barnes said of McLemore. “He can defend, he’s athletic, he can shoot and I think that going to Sacramento will give him a lot of opportunity to play early and learn and get better. But to say he’s Ray Allen and that’s the benchmark, I think is unfair.”

Barnes, who was drafted seventh by Golden State during last year’s draft in New Jersey, said he drew comparisons to Chicago’s Luol Deng when he entered the draft but never really saw it.


Ken Sedgwick 9 years, 5 months ago

Comparisons are usually taken too literal. When they aren't , they do provide a good reference.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Personally, I think the Kings are a horrible place to land. It's purgatory. Nearly as bad as Charlotte. When Ben fell past 5, I thought there was a chance OKC would trade up to snag him. A lot in the this game, and life, is opportunity and circumstance. This isn't the best circumstance. But I do think he'll overcome it and have an excellent career. He does have huge talent.

Just for fun here, could you imagine if Ben stayed?

Tharpe, McLemore, Wiggins, Ellis, and Black starting? Wow.

Andy Hess 9 years, 5 months ago

Wiggins wouldn't be here if McLemore stayed. That was part of what drew him here, McLemore leaving. Not to mention we'd be one scholarship short.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 5 months ago

But HEM is right, if BMac was still here we'd be salivating about our prospects for next season, regardless if Wiggins came or not. At this point BMac is more proven than Wiggins. Look at Shabazz Mahamed, he was everyone's top recruit a year ago and proceeded to disappoint. Now I think Wiggins has a great upside, but it wouldn't be bad if BMac were still here.

VailHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

This is fun, what if Shabazz would have come to KU and been coached up by Self instead of Howland, where would he have been drafted?

Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

HEM is right, KU would be a lock for a trophy next season, forget Louisville or Kentucky. Wiggins may have come to KU anyways, its all speculation. What isn't speculation and what excites me is Wiggins' skill set that is above what Ben had last season for us. CS said himSelf that he hasn't had a player with the raw talent and athleticism that Wiggins has since he's been coaching. That's 20 years fellas. That's big time. That's severe potential for POY and #1 2014 draft pick.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

If we're going to play the what if game, here's one for you that like would've resulted in KU winning the title last season. KU was the runner up for Otto Porter and had Self recruited Phil Forte harder instead of just giving him a token offer, KU likely signs both Forte and Marcus Smart since it was widely known those two wanted to be a package deal. KU last year realistically could've had a starting line up that included Ben McLemore, Marcus Smart, Otto Porter, Jeff Withey, and take on who else to throw into the line up (probably EJ) with Releford, KY, and Ellis coming off the bench. How's that for a starting line up and bench since we're playing the what if game?

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago


Do you really believe a scholie would not have been found for Wigs?

KGphoto 9 years, 5 months ago

It’s low profile, which is good for him right now, but Sacramento is not purgatory. They had some bad management and coaching as of late, and the new ownership cleaned house. They hired some proven commodities away from Denver. Pete D’Alessandro who played for the Kings, will be the GM, and the top personnel man, Mike Bratz, as the Assistant AD. You are going to see some nice changes in that roster over the next couple of years. In fact I wouldn’t doubt if they start picking away at that loaded Denver roster immediately. Igoudala?

The fans are some of the best in the NBA Since the buyout of the Maloof’s 65% they’ve set the NBA record for season tickets. Ben should be playing in a brand new arena during the 3rd year of his contract, and I don’t know if you remember the “white outs” they had, but those fans get rabid.

Last year was a terrible year in Sacramento because of the looming sale and move. This year will be the opposite. The Kings will be back to their early 2000’s ways very soon.

kevinatc 9 years, 5 months ago

Seldon and Greene will be better than McLemore in my opinion. He run away and hid to much for me.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

You're making a huge statement about both Selden and Greene. During Ben's season of 'hiding' he managed to break Danny Manning's freshman scoring record. Make no mistake, Ben was an absolute stud last year.

Selden has a chance, although he's a different player than McLemore. Compared to McLemore, Selden has an inferior stroke and similar athleticism. Their athleticism is interesting to compare. I really can't decide who's more athletic of the two. Likely the "x factor" is Selden's motor, which might run a little hotter than Ben's. but only the bright lights in AFH will reveal this.

Greene... no chance. What video, stat, rumor, or insight about Greene do you base your huge prediction on? I still think Greene redshirts this year. Compared to McLemore, Greene has a slightly inferior stroke and far inferior athleticism.

kevinatc 9 years, 5 months ago

Yes he was an absolute stud against Michigan. Kid needs to learn to be assertive to be called a stud. By the way he didn't play with scorers like Danny did his freshman year.

JayhawkinCT 9 years, 5 months ago

You're focusing far too much on rankings. Josh Selby was in everyone's top 5 coming out of high school. How has that worked for him so far?

mikehawk 9 years, 5 months ago

The least of Ben's problems are what he can or can't do on the court. His game is still devloping, and I really think his location at Sac with the new managment is a good thing. Ben's barriers, from what I can tell, are off of the court, not on the court. He appears to be a sweet kid with a kind dispostion. Maybe a bit naive, and he wants to "take care of his family." He will have plenty of money to do that, but good financial managment of his resources are critical with safeguards and discipline build into the structure. How big will his "inner circle" be and who are his main overall advisors? He isn't off to a good start. But, if he can get these things lined out and maintained, freeing up his mind to develop and focus on the game, his ceiling is a high one. Bad advice, bad advisors, IRS, legal and money problems, and Ben will become a footnote, like so very many. Nothing but the best for Ben and his family. The opportunity is there, and interesting for fans to follow.

What I think will even be more interesting to watch is how we Kansas fanatics react if, when the dust settles, we have to hand over the wins and the Big 12 Championship from this past year due to a ruling we played an ineligible player. History would suggest we will turn on Ben if that is the outcome. Big time D-1 athletics has become a dirty business and some of the dirt may get splattered onto us, despite the fact I believe we are probably as innocent as you can be in these types of deals.

Robert Brock 9 years, 5 months ago

Be interesting to see if Mac can play the NBA game - gotta get your own shot, gotta dribble, gotta defend great players. Good luck, Kid!

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 5 months ago

I think he can and will, but like someone said earlier, Sacramento is not the best place to land. Hopefully with Ben's upbeat attitude he will prosper. He needs to surround himself with none of Cousin's friends. I think Ben can create his own shot, but yes, needs to work on dribbling, defense and passing. Let's go Ben!!!

Steve Gantz 9 years, 5 months ago

It's this oversaturated (is oversaturation possible?!!) media coverage that we have that creates these inane comparisons. Before the days of cable, and internet mainly BMac wouldn't be compared to anyone. But it's people who get paid to write something new and fresh each day who create these comparisons. Wasn't one of our young guns (white or adams?) a year ago being compared to DWade? Well I looked it up and DWade averaged 18 points a game his first season of playing college ball. I don't recall White or Adams averaging even 18 minutes a game let alone 18 points a game.
So let it rest media. Stop the nonsense. Stop the comparisons. Let the boys play without overhyped expectations!

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 5 months ago

The comparisons are usually two fold.

1) every tv announcer during a college game as the analyst next to him who does he play like in the league? Many get a variety of answers, in this case everyone mentioned ray Allen and it stuck.

2) Most of the time it is the style of play and not specifically everything else. Ray Allen is known as one of the purist shooters. He has a fluid motion. Likewise anyone who has seen McLemore shoot knows his shooting style is amazingly pure.

I think on this site alone there was a comparison of a couple college players and nba players. The question always comes up who will be the next Jordan? College players will always be considered to their nba counterparts to build their brands.

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

So Shane Battier and Harrison Barnes, two active NBA players who probably watched one KU game all season, are the go-to experts on how Ben compares to Ray Allen? Cool.

Jim Johnson 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't have a lot of confidence in his work ethic. He folded at the end of the season when he was needed the most and that alone should make anyone a little less confident of his ability to play in the NBA. His play was very disappointing, he hit some shots during the season that were impressive but couldn't do anything at the end of the season when he should have.

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately, I agree. His 20 points in the Michigan game were inconsequential in that particular game. He had a huge spurt in the middle of the game and that was it. I still think he'll pan out in the NBA. I really, really hope so.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

"His 20 points in the Michigan game were inconsequential"

This is a joke, right?

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 5 months ago

We needed him at the end or anyone for that matter and no one answered the bell.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

I think board rats and broadcasters are underestimating the comparison between rookie Ben and future NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen.

I think Ben IS Ray Allen.

I think he was cloned from some of Ray's DNA back during the X-File era by the Cigarette Smoking Man.

I think that Ben dreams Ray Allen's dreams and his real name is Ray AllenPrime.

I think Ben's brother is being held in a penitentiary by the Cigarette Smoking Man to make sure Ben goes along with the experiment in calling him Ben McLemore.

I think that anyone that does not see that the comparison between Ben and Ray Allen is literal is either crazy, or part of the conspiracy.

I think that if we got close enough to Ben that we would see latex seams just under his jaw lines and that if we pulled at those seams, Ben's face would peel off and Ray Allen's face would become visible.

I think Ben will score the exact same number of points in each game of his career, as Ray Allen did.

I believe that the Cigarette Smoking Man has also cloned Ray Allen's wife and that it is just a matter of time before Ben aka Ray AllenPrime and the cloned wife of Ray Allen are introduced and begin to reproduce at an alarming rate.

I believe there is much to learn about any player from comparing him to another player.

And I believe that rocks with wings can fly.

And be compared.


Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

Oh wow, that was freeking hilarious! I loooove the obligatory Xfiles reference.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

"Jeff van Grundy"

Brother of Stan on Monday,

Riles assistant on Tuesday,

Replaced Riles on Wednesday,

Held 'Zo's leg on Thursday,

Punched in the face on Friday,

Fined a hundred K by Dave on Saturday,

Jumped behind the mike on Sunday.

That was the end,

Of Coach Van Grundy.

(Note: as collected by James Orchard Hallibate)

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

Looking at the pictures of Ray and Ben at story top, I am struck by how similar the morphology of their arms is.

It seems to me that arm morphology must explain most of why Ray and Ben are both great shooters.

This gives me an idea.

Let's make plaster casts of their arms.

Then let's make animatronic prosthetics based on those plaster casts.

Then let's amputate our arms and replace them with these animatronic prosthetics.

Then let's all compare favorably with Ben and Ray, and be assured of being great NBA outside shooters.

Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

Seriously, Im ok with that because I have an injured shoulder and have been looking for a bionic replacement like in I-Robot. Patent it, send it through the appropriate physician ranks and then sign me up! Ive always wanted to be a 5'4" sweet shooting PG for the Lakers.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 5 months ago

I would take a second-year BMac over a first-year Wiggins. Guess we'll have to settle for a first-year Wiggins. :)

Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

disagree. I love Ben, great player, athlete and Jayhawk , but Wiggins gives us many more intangibles, even after he leaves KU. When was the last time KU landed a consensus #1 Player, a McD's all American? Once again, no knock on Ben. He was amazing at KU. But, he is no Wiggins.

Steve Brown 9 years, 5 months ago

Ben one our top dozen talents to wear the crimson & blue. Wiggly is top three, maybe 2! 6 teams passed whereas next year teams will lose games to have chance to get him. Both are great, yet one if these two boys is a different special.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 5 months ago

Will be fun to watch not only the end of the NBA season, but also the NFL...teams will be losing at the end to win the Clowney sweepstakes.

Trifecta 9 years, 5 months ago

I hope that Ben has the work ethic that ray does because his shot is just as sweet coming out of college and Ben is actually more athletic! Therefore he could potentially be as good or better if he works hard and keeps his head straight! Ray is 1st class!

Joseph Bullock 9 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate strikes again, at the top of the chain, with the "X-Files! Classic!!! LOL

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

Yes, slayr, it even took MJ a few years to get the winning and trey rates knocked.

And Lebron, too.

And those are the guys that could step in an start and play full time.

Next, regarding Ray Allen, what's most freakish about Ray is not his great shot, or his great athleticism, or his great professionalism, but his great health!!!!

I mean, if you step back and really take a big picture look,health is what is really crucial to a long career in the NBA.

How any human beings body can take 17 years of pounding 80-100 games a year, plus pre-season preparation is absolutely astounding. The most amazing thing about Russell, Wilt, Jabbar and MJ,for four other memorable examples, were their abilities to stay as healthy as they did, for as long as they did.

Bird was really only Bird for three NBA seasons or so. The rest of his career he really just played X-Axis, used a great natural eye, and his even greater anticipation and gritted his teeth.

Magic probably would have been able to play a long time, too, had he not contracted the AIDS.

But so many guys "could" be as good as some of the all timers, if they could just stay healthy enough.

Ray Allen is so far out on the right tail of the health distribution it makes him one of the biggest freaks of all. But even Ray Allen has had to play through injuries.

I suppose the key is the kind of injuries one suffers.

If you depend on pop, and you lose your pop, your goose is cooked.

If you depend on shooting and your rotator cuff goes out, your yolk is broken.

And so on.

Whatever, these few long lived NBA stars are among the rarest birds in the aviary.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

Ray Allen.

Shane Battier.

Mario Chalmers.

Riles knows how to pick role players. :-)

Note: just ranking by seniority. Of course I like Mario best.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

If the NCAA takes away last season's Ws, because of Ben and Blackstock, call it a "Total Eclipse of the Won."

Damn! I would hate to see the incredible accomplishments of Jeff, Travis, KY, EJ and the others erased. This was the second bunch Self's Super Achievers! And they deserve their season recognized in the record books of the legacy.

But if wrong was done, then strap'em up and chase another 30 for them this season.

Rock Chalk!

Sam Constance 9 years, 5 months ago

Good lord.

No one is saying Ben McLemore IS Ray Allen. At least no one that these guys are talking to or anyone in the media.

The idea is that Ben McLemore's raw skill set is similar to Ray Allen's raw skill set. Clearly Allen has a 17 year career of highly successful production and that obviously separates him from McLemore or any other NBA rookie. Heck, it separates him from most NBA veterans.

Allen is the benchmark for McLemore's ceiling. He may or may not get there, and honestly it's probably more likely he doesn't than he does, since players of Ray Allen's caliber are not terribly common. But that doesn't mean people can't look at the skill sets and see the similarities.

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