McLemore may be turning off teams

McLemore may be turning off teams
June 23, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Who will the Wizards take at 3?

Unless the Orlando Magic take Ben McLemore at No. 2 overall, the shooting guard from Kansas –- regarded as the best offensive player in this draft class -- could drop.

Just a few months ago, McLemore, before the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery and the right to pick No. 1 overall, seemed to be a cinch.

After his freshman season with the Jayhawks, he averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 49.5% shooting. He also converted 42% of his three-point attempts. He’s routinely drawn comparisons to Ray Allen, the NBA’s all-time leading three-point scorer, but with more athleticism.

McLemore has done individual workouts for the Cavaliers and Magic, but his representation, Rival Sports Group, has not responded to repeated requests by some teams, including the Wizards, to set up a meeting. One NBA executive told CSN that it showed a "lack of professionalism."

That could be because McLemore has been assured by the one of the top two teams, likely the Magic, that he’s their man. However, neglecting to return messages can reflect badly on the player. Emails to Rivals from CSN Washington were not answered. On June 6, CSN reported that arranging for McLemore to come to Washington had become a problem.

Contrast this with Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Cody Zeller (Indiana) and Erick Green (Virginia Tech). All three were invited for individual workouts by the Wizards, but they declined. McLemore simply never answered.  

The Wizards are set with a backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, who is from St. Louis like McLemore, but they need scoring. The Wizards, who have the No. 3 overall pick Thursday, were tied for last in the NBA last season at 93.2 points per game.

The Wizards need size, too, with possibly Nerlens Noel (Kentucky) and Alex Len (Maryland) on the table. But if McLemore is available, without having worked him out or interviewed him even at last month’s combine in Chicago, would the Wizards draft him?

The last time they took a player without having interviewed him was JaVale McGee, who was taken 18th overall in 2008 out of Nevada.

While a talented athlete at 7 feet, McGee turned out to have an attitude problem and was traded by the Wizards to the Denver Nuggets in 2012.

McLemore doesn't appear to have that sort of baggage, though he was kicked out of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) for violating school policy before he went to college.

He’s 6-4, has a 6-8 wingspan and a 42-inch vertical leap, according to measurements from the combine.

He already has NBA shooting range and the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. But McLemore is soft-spoken and comes across as meek and not very assertive, which could be attributed to his age (20) and inexperience.

There's concern about the risk of taking McLemore, which means forwards Otto Porter (Georgetown) and Anthony Bennett (UNLV) are more than likely -- and safer -- selections.