Although it is still way too early to know for sure when the Phoenix Suns will be picking or even what their needs will be by the time of the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27th, it's never too early to take a look at some of the players who could be realistic options at that time.
At the moment, there are several players slated to be lottery picks who the Suns could have interest in: Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, Cody Zeller, Alex Poythress, and the list goes on. However, ESPN's Chad Ford recently wrote that out of all the players likely to declare for the coming draft, Ben McLemore could be the best fit for the Suns (ESPN Insider account required to read).
So who is Ben McLemore and what impact could he have for Phoenix? Let's take a closer look.
Ben McLemore, SG, University of Kansas
|2012 - Ben McLemore||16||30.8||5.5||10.9||50.3||1.9||4.3||43.5||3.6||4.1||87.7||1.4||4.0||5.4||2.1||1.8||1.3||0.9||1.8||16.4|
- Athleticism - McLemore is one of the most athletically gifted players in college basketball. He is very fast, quick, and has great leaping ability.
- Shooting - Not only can McLemore run the floor and dunk with the best of them, he has a great stroke and shoots a high percentage from everywhere on the court.
- Scoring in Transition - McLemore has shown the ability to run the floor very well, and excels in getting to the rim and scoring on fast breaks and in an up-tempo style of play.
- Defense - While McLemore is still refining this area of his game, he already shows great potential as a defender with nice lateral quickness and agility.
- Passing - Although he's not the strongest ball-handler (although I don't think he's bad by any means), he's shown a very nice ability to see the floor and make difficult passes to open teammates. He's also very unselfish with the ball and rarely forces bad shots.
- Creating His Own Shot - McLemore hasn't shown the ability to consistently create his own shot. He is much better as a spot-up shooter or scoring off the pass.
- Agressiveness? - McLemore isn't afraid to take shots or get to the rim, but he does have the tendency to play a little passively at times rather than taking the game over the way someone with his offensive talent can. I don't personally think this is a big issue at all, but it has at least been mentioned by other analysts.
I think Ben McLemore would be a great fit for the Phoenix Suns. McLemore is a special talent who is likely to go very early in the up-coming draft. The Suns could definitely use his athleticism and shooting ability of offense, and help him continue to develop his awareness and understanding of the game to maximize his defensive talents as well.
Personally, I think McLemore is the best wing in college basketball right now, even over the much ballyhooed Shabazz Muhammad (though that is certainly subject to change as the college season progresses). Not only that, but I think his style of play fits the Suns better than Shabazz who is not as athletic, fast, or as accurate as a jump shooter.
Of course, there's still plenty of time to continue evaluating all of the players who will likely be within the Suns' reach on draft day, and there will certainly be risers and fallers as well. However, at the moment, McLemore seems to possess many of the skills that the Suns are in need of, and I wouldn't be surprised if he is one of the names they have high on their list when that day comes.