Sacramento Kings: A Preview of Ben McLemore’s Second Stint

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

When it comes to Ben McLemore and Sacramento Kings fans, there is no middle ground. You either loved or hated his first stint with the team. His fans believed he needed a little more time to hit his stride. Or like myself, you felt he hit his ceiling and that was as good as it gets.

When Ben’s contract expired in 2017, the Kings did not make an offer to keep him with the team. Social media posts were in favor of letting him go as McLemore did not live up to the hype when the Kings drafted him seventh in the 2013 draft.

Why did Vlade take McLemore back?

It is pretty simple from a front office standpoint. They have enough young guys at the guard position to take on his contract and get a second-round pick in 2021. The Kings also freed up about a million more dollars to spend on free agents or take on another bad contract. But when it comes to playing time, where does McLemore stand? To me, a spot at the end of the bench. McLemore carries potential but has not reached it yet in his five NBA seasons.

Will Ben get playing time?

I can tell you where Ben will get plenty of playing time. That will be during practice. This is where Ben can help the Kings. When you play against athletic players in practice, it shows up on game day. He will also be a nice insurance policy to have if any guards get injured on the team. Ben is capable of stepping in as a nice replacement, but I doubt he will crack the Kings’ main rotation as he is not in the Kings’ long-term plans. But if he wants to earn consistent and meaningful minutes, he will have to shine when he gets the chance to play.

McLemore will have to beat out starters to play.

Ben’s main competition is Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield. Last year these guys showed promise and got better as the season progressed. Yogi Ferrell can play both guard spots so throw him into the mix as well. Ben has said this is a big summer for his career. Well, this is a big summer for the Kings too.

The best outcome for Ben.

Everybody loves a comeback story. With McLemore having the makings of a Ray Allen, it would be nice if the Kings and Ben can reach even a fraction of that potential. McLemore is built for being a shooting guard as he is quick and athletic with a smooth shooting stroke. If Ben can apply these skills day after day, add some fierce attitude of a Harry Giles too, it would help his game reach the level most expected from him out of college. When Ben is aggressive and focused, he has had the best games of his career.

The most likely outcome for Ben.

If you look at McLemore’s stats over the last two years, with the Kings and Grizzlies, they are consistent. So what you see is what you get. He will be a deep bench player on an expiring contract. He could be thrown in a trade later this year for a team wanting free agency money at the end of the season. He might even see some scrap time at the end of games.

The final wrap.

Ben McLemore coming back to the Kings changes very little other than it gives the Kings another second-round pick down the road and another million dollars in cap space. But it came at the price for Garrett Temple.

Not only is Temple a great leader on any team, but he is an established NBA player and by far the best player in this trade. Lucky for Garrett, he will go to a team who will play him and pay him. It is nice when a trade works out for both teams.