Should The Kings Consider Trading Ben McLemore?


Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Ben McLemore is an improving player that most Sacramento Kings fans just can’t wait to see what his potential can turn into. This past season he made a tremendous jump from year one to year two, but still found a way to hit that rookie/sophomore wall during the middle of the season. Finding consistency is what will make McLemore take that next step in his career.

But what if he can never find that consistency?

First off, let me begin with the fact that I have nothing but high hopes for McLemore, and hopes Ben has a long tenured career in Sacramento. His hard work has been put on well display through this entire offseason, and everyone on the coaching staff just raves about how this guy is a straight “gym rat.” But the question still remains–what if he never finds consistency?

On this newly revamped Kings roster, Ben is going to continue to find himself in a role in which he will be playing off the ball and someone who is going to need to knockdown his open jump shot. This past season he made a significant rise in his three-point shooting percentage, from 32% his rookie season to 35% during his sophomore year.

While 35% shooting from three-point range is not terrible, the team has recently acquired a guy in Marco Belinelli, who shot a career 39% from beyond the arc, and in two separate seasons he found himself shooting over 40%.  That puts pressure on a player like McLemore to really find a way to make consistency a top priority for him to start improving.

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Not only is the pressure of the new addition of Belinelli going to become a problem, but the acquisition of also Rajon Rondo is going to become a significant problem for him as well. Yes, I know they play two completely different positions. And yes, I understand that having a distributor like Rondo could help McLemore get more shots. But there is a man on this team named Darren Collison, who proved last season that he is more than just a backup point guard.

Head coach Geroge Karl has been one of the many that believes “the NBA is forming into a two point guard league.” With Rondo and Collison in his backcourt, the duo of these two players could be just what he was looking for when he had the idea of two point guards in his head.

In six seasons, only in one did Collsion not average at least 35% from three-point range. This past season was more of the same when he shot an above average 37% from the perimeter (all stats from So if Karl is looking to run with a two point guard lineup, that takes more time and opportunity away from McLemore, in what we here at A Royal Pain feel could be a make or break season for the youngster.

Another potential player that could start quietly taking minutes from Ben is D-League MVP Seth Curry. Curry is coming into this years training camp with a ton of steam after a terrific stint in the D-League this past season and also from what he showed during the Las Vegas Summer League.

So when you are looking at the big picture of it all, you see that they signed Belinelli (3 years, $19 million) to become a nightly contributor and I don’t see him averaging less minutes than he did this past season with the San Antonio Spurs (22 minutes per game). Collison proved his worth and is looking to bounce back in a big way after starting 2015 strong but had to see his year end early due to a hip injury and currently still has two years left on his contract.

All I am trying to say there is no doubt competition at the shooting guard position and unfortunately maybe there is no room for McLemore. Especially if he can not find consistency.

Mar 9, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) shoots a three point shot over Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver (26) in the second quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

I mean let’s be honest, you have all read this before, this isn’t anything you haven’t read or seen on many different media outlets. But what if we actually, or the Kings rather, considered it? What if the Kings make Ben McLemore available for trades?

Like I stated in the beginning of the piece, I want McLemore to be a long tenured King, but the possibility of it happening is there. The questions and depth at his position is documented and real. So what could his value be if he was in trade talks?

McLemore is a name that because of his work ethic and his vast improvement from year one to year two, has made his trade value at a decently high mark. He only has one year left on his contract after this 2016, so maybe its time to sell high on B-Mac.

The Sacramento Kings have depth and a great mix of both veteran leadership and young potential prospects, but the future of this team is something that is always in the back of a GM’s mind when they are building their teams potential to become or stay contenders.

With the Kings building to become contenders, they need to find a way to continue to bring in talent for a reasonable price. The NBA’s salary cap is going to be on the rise and though we will see too many players get over payed or max contracts, the one thing that stays the same is the price you pay for rookies.

That’s right, I am suggesting the Kings could trade Ben McLemore for draft picks. It wouldn’t be the worst trade in team history, I mean the team is still going through the repercussion of the J.J. Hickson deal. McLemore’s value should still be relatively high, especially for what he brings and what his potential still holds. Maybe the Kings should go after two or more future first round picks, as well as a player.

This is all hypothetical of course and I know all of you are probably thinking I am crazy, but again there is no doubt pressure on McLemore this upcoming season. If Karl begins to start showing favoritism to guys like Belinelli or Collison, than maybe it’s best for the team or even McLemore’s career, that they find him a new destination.

Let me state one final time however that I do want McLemore to be a long tenured Sacramento King. I’m just not sure it’s the right move for either party, depending on how this season plays out.

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