NBA Draft: McLemore’s Best Fit

With the Draft days away Kansas is expected to have a top five pick in Ben McLemore. With this post we will dive into the various situations he could end up in, and which situations KU fans should want to see occur.

#1: The Miami Heat

It has widely been reported that the Heat have been interested in trading with Charlotte for a deal that would send Bosh to Charlotte for the draft rights to McLemore. With the freed up cap space ,they would then move into a sign-and-trade deal with Los Angeles that would send a couple of picks to the Lakers. In addition, Charlotte would likely send Byron Mullens out to the Lakers. This would be the dream scenario for Kansas fans for a couple of reasons:

  • It would allow Ben the opportunity to win a championship right away while learning from future Hall of Fame shooting guard Dwyane Wade.
  • This would unite the Kansas standout with former Jayhawk star Mario Chalmers, which would give KU fans a backcourt to get behind.

As talks have cooled between the two teams, the deal seems unlikely. However, it would truly be the best scenario for Kansas fans. This deal is contingent on Ben McLemore being available with the fourth pick, however. And this may not be the case as Cleveland and Orlando are both viewed as possible draft locations for McLemore.

#2: The Cleveland Cavaliers

Landing in Cleveland would be a great situation for Kansas fans as KU would likely have back-to-back number one overall picks with McLemore in 2013 and Andrew Wiggins in 2014. A source from each each NBA team agreed that Wiggins would be the number one overall pick if he were eligible this year so he is certain to No. 1 in 2014.

There has been a bit of an image forming that Kansas doesn’t exactly prepare players for the NBA. In recent memory, players such as Julian Wright, Cole Aldrich, Tyshawn Taylor, and Marcus Morris (among others) have underperformed in the NBA. Having back to back number one overall picks would give Kansas an even greater recruiting edge. With the possibility of LeBron James returning to Cleveland in 2014, it would give Ben McLemore the opportunity to win a championship alongside Kyrie Irving and the King.

#3: The Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns have an interesting team situation because they already have BOTH Morris twins on the roster. In addition, the Suns have expressed interest in drafting Jeff Withey (if he is still available when they pick again at #30). If the Suns could snatch both players ,then there wouldn’t be a Kansas fan in the nation without a pro team to support. Phoenix would become KU 2.0 and would be a great situation for all Kansas fans.

Phoenix was in a situation where they were around .500 before their center (and probably best or second best player) Marcin Gortat got injured. They hold the fifth pick in the draft and are looking for a backcourt guard to pair alongside Goran Dragic. Should McLemore fall to Phoenix, they would very likely make the playoffs, and it would be interesting to watch McLemore develop away from the media eye that a media circus, such as Miami or Boston, would provide.

 #4: The Charlotte Hornets

Should McLemore be drafted fourth by the Hornets, he likely won’t experience the playoffs for a couple of years. However, he would be a strong favorite for Rookie of the Year, as many of the past winners have simply been the rookie who has scored the most. McLemore would start away from the media’s eye and would be able to shoot whenever he wanted with a lack of stars on the Hornets’ roster. This situation would allow McLemore to develop confidence, but with a lack of a role model on the team, it could keep him from becoming a star.

#5: The Orlando Magic

Why the Magic… well look at Charlotte: Lack of stars, away from media eye, etc. The only reason it would be a worse situation then Charlotte is because the Magic are farther away from the post season then Bobcats and the Orlando has a lot of players that are shooters by nature, which would detract from McLemore’s ability to shine. However, having the second overall pick in the draft would not be a bad thing for the Jayhawk faithful, and would give another recruiting boost for an already talented staff.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Boston via Trade : With Alvin Gentry (former KU assistant) a strong contender for the head coaching job and Kansas legend Paul Pierce still starring for the team, Boston would certainly be a KU-friendly landing spot for McLemore. McLemore would pair with Rajon Rondo to form a dynamic duo in the backcourt that would terrorize opposing teams. McLemore would get the opportunity to learn from a future Hall of Fame swingman in Pierce and would likely be a part of a playoff team for years and years to come.
  • Los Angeles Lakers via Trade: McLemore would have to start on the bench but would learn behind Kobe Bryant, one of the best five shooting guards of all-time. Again, the downside would be minutes and shots, of which McLemore would see fewer than the average top-five pick.
  • Oklahoma City via Trade: OKC is looking for a two guard to replace Harden and McLemore could step in. However, he would not get the shots he would need to be productive and he would have to start as a sixth man behind lockdown defender Thabo Sefolosha.
  • Chicago via Trade: Chicago has reported interest in trading their starting two guard (Deng) for the third pick in the draft, at which point they would take McLemore. McLemore would pair up with Derrick Rose, and would get to team with Kirk Hinrich, another Jayhawk star. The Bulls are championship contenders, but again lack of minutes and lack of shots would come with this situation.

These nine situations are certainly not the only situations for where McLemore could end up, but they certainly provide favorable outcomes for both McLemore and the Jayhawk faithful. It will be fun to see where McLemore lands as the draft is just a couple of days away.