Trade Season Preview: Ben McLemore.

Forgot to link to his career stats, and also his shooting chart from last season.Also would be prudent to show his shooting chart from his 2nd seasonsince that's the potential the Pistons would have to be hoping for.

'

Intro kind of thing:

Just as with the free agent stuff, I am not necessarily saying that I want to make any trades suggested, and obviously I have absolutely no inside information about who is doing what. I mostly am looking for things that could be possibilities and looking at them. This is leading up to the draft because the Pistons are (allegedly) very open to trading their pick as a part of some package. SVG also said that if he were to trade this year's pick he would like to get someone back who is on their rookie contract. (I say supposedly because I have heard people say that and it fits with things I've see/heard him say but I have not found a source on it.) So I will look at some guys that the Pistons could possibly trade for.

'

'

Who is Ben McLemore?

A shooting guard for the Sacramento Kings. Drafted the same year and 1 spot ahead of KCP, the same size, and similarly athletic with a good shooting stroke. Like KCP he struggled a bit his rookie year, especially with his shooting and then (also like KCP) bounced back with a nice sophomore year where he shot better and generally looked more comfortable. Then the Kings were the Kings this past season, they signed Marco Belinelli, and George Karl never really trusted McLemore, and his minutes were sparse and irregular, and he did actually continue to improve his outside shooting, his overall game suffered. And now, there is at least some sentimentthat the Kings should trade him.(and supposedly attempted to this past season.)

'

'

Why would the Pistons want him? (disregarding whatever they would have to give up.)

I think that some people have gotten a little bit too into the thought process that the Pistons are all set at the SG spot next season and beyond by citing the Pistons having 5 players who can play the spot on the roster. HOWEVA, KCP might not be able to shoot at all (or do much else on offense), Jodie Meeks is always hurt, Reggie Bullock has about 20 games of his 3 year career where he has not been awful, Darrun Hilliard hardly played his rookie season and is already 23, and Stanley Johnson might not be able to shoot and is probably better playing more minutes at forward anyways. On top of that, KCP and Bullock are restricted free agents after next season, and Meeks is an unrestricted one. Essentially meaning, that of the 5 guys who are able to give minutes at SG, KCP is the only one that I have pretty much 100% faith in being a solid player, and he might be a mediocre offensive player. (Obviously even if his offense makes no improvements, his defense is so good that he is still a solid player.) Put all this together, and it would be a pretty good idea to get another guy who is, at the very least, fairly certain to be able to give a whole season of competent play at the SG position.

On the court McLemore would be a fairly clean fit with the bench mob and/or with the starters. Even in his rough last season he still shot 36% from 3, which would have been just about tops on the team this past season, (outside of Bullock and Hilliard, who both have small sample size attached to them still.) which would assist the Pistons with one of their biggest problems from last season of "A team that shoots lots of 3s but isn't very good at shooting 3s." So at the very least, he would add another solid (and fairly proven) shooter to the Pistons roster.

He has had some defensive struggles, but there is good reason to believe that with the Pistons coaching staff/general team culture/not playing for the Kings would be good for him in that regard. I'm not saying he would become a monster defender, but there is good reason to believe that with better coaching and a team that has a culture of working hard etc. that he would make some improvements on that end.

Essentially on the court, McLemore and KCP are kind of like mirros of each other. Same size, same athleticism, same profile. McLemore has all the tools to be a really solid defensive player, but has lacked the consistency and smarts to make good on them so far, but still shows flashes, and is fairly polished as a solid offensive off ball threat with good shooting and a nice dribble drive game. Once again, like a mirror of KCP. (Although to be fair to KCP, I would absolutely say KCP is better overall than McLemore at this point.)

The last thing that would make McLemore a sneaky good pickup is that it would give the Pistons some insurance/leverage when negotiating with KCP about an extension. (And if McLemore plays well, the other way around.) If someone comes along and offers one of them a massive overpay because they have money to burn, then the Pistons can try and get a more reasonable price with the other. And if either KCP or McLemore is playing hardball, the Pistons can play hardball right back with the knowledge that they have the other behind them. (And Bullock could also play into this as a wildcard.)

'

'

What would the Pistons likely have to give up?

It is hard to say. First off it is the Kings, and even if they seem to be going in the right direction with some of the hires they have made, they still have made some kind of crazy/stupefying trades recently. The main question is what direction the Kings are deciding to go, because if they really want to try and do a total rebuild, then they likely would not want to trade McLemore anyways because he is still pretty young, but it would make picks and the Pistons younger guys (Hilliard, Stanley, Dinwiddie if he's still around) more desirable. But if the Kings are still in their (perhaps misguided) win now at all costs mode, then older guys (Jodie Meeks) would become more useful. And either way, who knows what they would want, McLemore's value is hard to pin down because he is still so young and has plenty of potential, but just had a pretty poor season.

'

'

Best Case?

Pistons manage to swing the trade with Meeks and not much else, (Dinwidde, Hilliard, 2nd round pick.) and McLemore shows that he was just in a miserable situation and plays really well. McLemore's good play gives KCP a real push for the starting SG spot (something that KCP hasn't really had the last 2 years) and causes KCP to elevate his game (finding some more offensive game) as well. On top of this, Bullock has some staying power, and suddenly the Pistons find themselves with a killer trio of 6'5 3 and D guys who are largely interchangeable but also bring something a little different to the table than the others. And in the offseason the Pistons manage to re-sign all 3 to reasonable contracts and the role of "SG/SF types who can shoot" is set for the Pistons.

'

'

Worst case?

McLemore wasn't just in a bad situation, or if he was, it has damaged him in a real way. The Pistons give up some real asset to get him, (1st round pick is the only thing terribly likely to give up. I see almost no way the Pistons move one of their real core pieces for him) and he struggles to stay in the rotation, and not because KCP or Bullock are playing so well, they both are struggling, it is just because McLemore is not much good. Jodie Meeks/whoever balls out for the Kings and is a guy the Pistons could have desperately needed, and in the offseason the Pistons end up losing 2 of their 3 young SGs and overpaying the 3rd.

'

'

Verdict?

The biggest decider however is how much smarter the Kings are now than the past couple of years. If they are smarter then they will not sell low on McLemore right now, in which case the Pistons should not go for him. But if the Kings are still desperate to try and get the 8th seed next year, then the Pistons could possibly try and swing a trade centered around Meeks and maybe Dinwidde/Hilliard or something like that. And FWIW, if he were to stay healthy, Meeks might actually be good enough (as a player and locker room guy, he is known as a wonderful teammate) that it may not even be such a bad trade for the Kings. He might be the true shooter that the Kings hoped they had in aquired when they drafted McLemore and Nik Stauskas, and signed Marco Belinelli. Essentially I see this as a chance to add one last nice young piece who could, in theory, join the Pistons young core while giving up very little. I would not want to give up more than Meeks+ a 2nd rounder (whether one of the players, or just a pick.) because even though (as I said earlier) the Pistons should be wary of feeling to good about the SG spot, there is good reason for optimism, and at the very least, KCP is a rock. Even if he is a rock who can't really shoot. So if the Kings don't sell low, then tip your hat and move on, but if they are still in desperation mode, the Pistons should pounce on it.

'

'

What do you think? Would you like McLemore? What would you be willing to give up for him? Let me know! We all get smarter!