You’re getting an awesome talent. Did we say awesome? No. Try ridiculous. Ben McLemore plays basketball in real life the way you play it on your Xbox, defying gravity and logic with the mere push of a button. The great ones make it look easy. McLemore can thread a needle from 25 feet out as if it were a layup. The former Kansas star doesn’t fly; he levitates above humanity on calves cut straight from Hogwarts. His forehead scrapes rims. His smile lights up a room. This is smooth and salt and earth, all in the same package. This is a nice, nice kid. Too nice, in fact. You know your Michael Jordan types? The kind of cat who wants to reach in your chest, pull out your heart and shove it in front of your face while it’s still beating. You’re not getting that. You’re getting Scottie Pippen. Insanely gifted. Crazy good. Not an Alpha Dog. As a Jayhawk, McLemore deferred to Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford, his seniors and mentors. It’s not that the St. Louis native didn’t have a killer instinct, somewhere, buried deep down inside that affable soul. It’s that coach Bill Self often had to grab a set of jumper cables in order to try to bring it to the fore. Gifted, Self loves. But mean, tough and ornery, he respects. You’re getting oodles of the former. The latter, well, that’s a wait-and-see. But know this: The 6-foot-5 McLemore will be a very, very good pro wherever he lands in the NBA Draft this month, and it’s hard to see him landing anywhere other than among the first four selections held by Cleveland, Orlando, Washington and Charlotte, respectively. He’s 20. If the ceiling isn’t the moon, it’s the stars beyond it. But know this, too: The fit has to be right. You’re getting a wing with a tendency to wallflower. During the NCAA Tournament, Air Ben averaged just 11 points per contest, and the Jayhawks went home in the regional semis, felled by cold-hearted daggers launched from the cold-hearted wrists of Michigan’s Trey Burke. McLemore may have a Jordan body, but Burke is the one with the Jordan mindset.
With Ben McLemore, you're getting Pippen, not Jordan
Fox Sports Kansas City | Jun 9