It seems the Sacramento Kings are trying to figure out whether or not Ben McLemore is worth keeping around by bringing him back into the lineup, as he continues to hover between the lines of high draft pick bust or a talent that’s worth keeping around and developing.
McLemore didn’t do well his rookie year, but had a decent second season in the league, improving his shooting significantly and also scoring more points per minute, averaging 12.1 in 32.6 a night, hitting 43.7% of his shots, 36.8% from beyond the arc.
A shooting guard who probably left college a bit early, it seemed that the arrival of Marco Belinelli (averaging 11.5 points per game so far) didn’t just hurt him in terms of minutes, but also hurt his motivation and confidence, with rumors linking him to the Philadelphia 76ers soon popping up.
After starting on the bench or not playing at all for six consecutive games, he’s back in the lineup, scoring 8 points in 25 minutes as the Kings picked up their third consecutive win, but most importantly looked like he cares more than he did earlier this season.
As Rudy Gay said about him: Personally, I just think that the benching sparked a fire under him. He’s been playing well. He comes out here, no matter whether he plays 10 minutes or two or 20, and works the same. He works hard, and eventually, it’ll pay off.
Despite a tumbling start, the Kings haven’t given up on making the playoffs, and the rumors of the team being on the verge of getting broken up seem to be nothing but rumors. McLemore becoming a reliable scorer in limited minutes seems like another valuable piece to have, something they couldn’t count on during the first week or so of the season. And after all these words, this is a player that so far is averaging just 6.8 points per 17.8 minutes a night.