Ben McLemore possesses all the skills necessary to become a star in the NBA. Reaching that level begins with a stint in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he should stand out from the crowd with a string of strong performances.
The Kansas product was viewed as a potential top-three pick heading into the draft. He didn't come off the board until the Kings at No. 7, which should provide some instant motivation. His task is showing what the other six teams passed on.
McLemore reaches the next level with a terrific jump shot to go along with good size and off-the-charts athleticism. Turning that raw talent into a complete package is going to take some time. Experience gained in the summer league should help.
In Las Vegas, front office personnel and coaching staffs aren't too worried about wins and losses. They want to see which players take advantage of the opportunity. It's a proving ground as players attempt to boost their stock heading into next season.
The atmosphere will provide a good challenge for McLemore. If there was one knock against him during his stay with the Jayhawks, it was that he lacked the assertiveness necessary to take control of the game despite the ability to do so.
He's going to be one of the most talented players on the court throughout the event. The challenge is proving it game in and game out.
Last season, he averaged 16 points, five rebounds and two assists for Kansas. He shot just a shade under 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the arc. Solid numbers, but they only begin to scratch the surface of his potential.
In the NBA, he can eventually become a player that averages 20 points per game on a consistent basis, and that's a conservative estimate. Add in the fact he has the tools to become an above average defender, and it's easy to see why the Kings jumped at the chance to grab him.
The key starting in Las Vegas is proving he wants to become an upper-echelon player. He can turn into a successful role player based on talent alone, but moving into the star category will take a concerted effort featuring more aggressiveness.
He should be leading the Kings offense whenever he's on the floor throughout the summer league. The ball should go through him every possession, and he can't shy away from jacking up a bunch of shots if he's left open.
The tendency is to focus on being a team player. The Kings already know McLemore can play that style of game. They want to see him take the next step in becoming an elite scorer. That process starts now, not on opening night of the regular season.
After hearing about his lack of assertiveness during the draft buildup, expect McLemore to make a statement in Las Vegas. It's a perfect opportunity for him to leave all that talk in the past and start building a new reputation in the NBA.
If there's an open jumper, take it. If the lane is open, drive. When given a chance to create his own offense, don't pass it up. Should he do that, there's no reason to believe he won't be one of the biggest stars in the summer league.
With his talent, anything less would be a disappointment.
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