Top backcourt prospects: Ben McLemore

Jamie Squire

With Gerald Henderson facing an uncertain future with the Charlotte Bobcats, Rufus on Fire takes a look at one of the best backcourt prospects in this year's draft.

With starting shooting guard Gerald Henderson going into the offseason as a restricted free agent, the Bobcats will have to look in many different directions to try to find Henderson's potential replacement. Henderson has said in an interview that he wants to return to Charlotte but there's still a chance that another team will offer him a larger contract that the Bobcats aren't willing to match or the team decides to just go in a different direction. If they do decide to move on from Henderson, then Charlotte could look at one of the top guard prospects like Ben McLemore, the talented 6'4" guard from Kansas.

Although McLemore was never as hyped as the man who will replace him at Kansas (Andrew Wiggins), he is still going into this draft as a candidate for the top pick, held by Cleveland. Because he's held in such high regard, the odds of McLemore being available at No. 4 is extremely slim with Orlando (No. 2) being a possible destination for the sophomore guard.

Overall, McLemore is an extremely solid backcourt prospect that reminds certain scouts of a young Ray Allen (which is a great thing for me as a long-time Bucks supporter). Unlike Gerald Henderson, McLemore's main strength going into the draft would be his overall touch from beyond the arc (shot 42 percent from three last season), which would be a big addition to a Bobcats team that finished 26th in the league in three-point shooting percentage. His silky smooth stroke would probably work well alongside a penetrating point guard like Kemba Walker who's in need of that solid running mate that he can work with.

Though his three-point approach is captivating to both fans and scouts, McLemore's work as a transition player is probably more impressive. He combines explosiveness and great speed with excellent leaping ability that makes him a huge threat every time he's out in the open court. That explosiveness is also apparent when he works off the ball because of how he can quickly work his way around a defender and cut to the basket.

The main offensive flaw with him would probably be his lack of ability to create his own shot as a ball-handler. That alone is a huge turn-off because Charlotte doesn't have a great pick-and-pop threat, so defenses will probably focus in on McLemore when he tries to work in a pick and roll. His perimeter game and quickness are intriguing but the uncertainty remains concerning how well he'd work in a system that lacks any real offensive threats that could take the pressure away from McLemore.

Defensively, McLemore has the potential to be extremely solid with his quick feet, decent length (6'7" wingspan) and solid build. He works well as an on-ball defender by working around screens and being able to stay close to even the most athletic wing players. McLemore's one real defensive flaw would probably be his overall inconsistency when he just loses track of the opposition, which isn't the most uncommon issue for a player as young as McLemore.

Overall, Ben McLemore would be a solid addition to this Bobcats team as a second or third option with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker. His ability as a spot-up shooter is probably the most intriguing part of his overall play because of the instant impact it could bring for Charlotte, which lacked a real deep-ball threat.

It's unlikely that he'll fall to No. 4, but a man can dream of McLemore, Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker running side-by-side on a fast break.

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