Feb 15, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Ben McLemore (16) dunks during the 2014 NBA All Star dunk contest at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets NBA Draft Trade Idea: Ben McLemore

Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post recently wrote an article suggesting that current Denver Nugget GM Tim Connelly should contact former Nugget GM Masai Ujiri.  The former Denver Nugget executive that current GM Tim Connelly should contact is Pete D’Alessandro.  D’Alessandro was the Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations until leaving last summer to take the GM job with the Sacramento Kings.  If Masai Ujiri can convince Pete D’Alessandro to acquire Rudy Gay, surely Tim Connelly can grease the wheels on acquiring shooting guard Ben McLemore.

Ben McLemore was the 7th overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft.  Here are some of the strong points that NBADraft.net listed about McLemore going into last year’s draft:

Prototypical 2-guard with a mouth watering combination of athleticism and shooting ability

Shooting efficiency was off the charts for a freshman, hitting 50% FG, 42% 3p and 87% from the line

His jump shot is absolutely a thing of beauty and rarely do you find such a gorgeous stroke on such a gifted athlete

Fast forward one NBA season and Ben McLemore has lost a little bit of his shine.  McLemore struggled with all aspects of his shot shooting only 37.6% FG, 32% 3P and 80.4% from the line.  The Sacramento Kings are slated to pick 8th overall in the upcoming NBA Draft.  Draft Express has the Kings selecting a combo forward with their pick.  Nugget fans are being bombarded with shooting guard options that may or may not be available at #11.

WHAT IF, Nuggets GM Tim Connelly phones Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro with this simple trade offer.  Nuggets #11 pick in the draft for Ben McLemore.

The Nuggets would acquire a young guard with oodles of potential that already has one year of NBA experience.  The Sacramento Kings would then have two top eleven picks in one of the “deepest drafts” in recent memory.

I understand that technically Ben McLemore does not address any of the Denver Nugget concerns such as perimeter defence or perimeter shooting.  So why add McLemore?

His three point shooting will get better.  I’m not suggesting it will hit his college proficiency but he is too talented to stay at sub 35%.  With Randy Foye on the bench, McLemore has protection.  At the tender age of 21, Coach Brian Shaw can add defensive dimensions to McLemore’s game.  ESPN’s David Thorpe recently wrote that Ben McLemore should study a player like Paul George.  Paul George, of course, was recently coached by Brian Shaw.



Tags: Ben McLemore Denver Nuggets Nba NBA Draft Tim Connelly

  • Schaumburg Kenny

    I think Sacramento wants to win now, not acquire more young talent. I think they love McLemore’s potential and are salivating to get him into Summer League action this year. Yes he had the normal first year struggles adjusting to the speed and athletes of the NBA game and hit the “rookie wall” around midseason as most college players do, but with a year of experience under his belt and an off season in a conditioning program, it won’t surprise them if he makes the NBA second season jump that many players do. The only superior wings to McLemore in this year’s draft are Wiggins and Exum (who will both be long gone by either the Kings’ or Nuggets’ pick). The only one of equal value is Smart, and he might be available where the Kings pick at #7. As they are determined to bring back PG Isaiah Thomas and are excited to have McLemore at Shooting Guard, as they are desperate to end their fans long suffering playoff drought, I see them going for Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, or Aaron Gordon to pair with DeMarcus Cousins. That would appear to be their most direct way to affect their playoff chances.

    The only way I could see them trading McLemore would be if the Nuggets offered the first rounder plus Power Forward JJ Hickson (Which Denver *might* be inclined to do if they love McLemore that much). Then, perhaps, if Smart falls to #7 they take him and Julius Randle or Adrian Payne at #11 or if Smart is gone they probably grab Noah Vonleh or Julius Randle at #7 and take Shooting Guard Nik Stauskus or Gary Harris at #11. That seems like a risk worth taking for them. That way they resign PG Isaiah Thomas and a veteran Shooting Guard in free agency and veteran JJ Hickson helps lead them to the playoffs. They also have two young rotation players who learn and could develop into future starters.

    But you’re right, Denver has several needs, and while McLemore is an upgrade, they definitely need depth at Power Forward if Kenneth Faried continues his slide and Julian Wright can’t find any consistency whatsoever, Small Forward in case Gallanari gets reduced minutes during his recovery or hurt again, and backup Point Guard as Aaron Brooks is a free agent. Maybe Nate Robinson can talk Small Forward Luol Deng into signing as a free agent for the MidLevel.

    If Denver makes the McLemore trade I list above, here’s a wacky thought: the Bulls are desperate to get rid of Carlos Boozer’s expiring 16.8 million dollar contract. The Nuggets might be able to trade a lot of their “non-core” roster (Wilson Chandler’s 6.7 mil [not needed with Gallinari returning], Randy Foye’s 3 million and Nate Robinson’s 2.1 million [neither needed with McLemore plus Robinson is a folk hero in Chicago], and Quincy Miller’s 1 million Team Option that Chicago can flat out jettison) to Chicago plus grab the Bulls 2015 (Kings originally top 10 protected 1st rounder). Boozer’s offense and rebounding to pair with Kenneth Faried and Julian Wright’s defense.

    So the Nuggets’ depth chart would look something like:

    C JaVale McGee – Backup – C Timofey Mosgov
    PF Kenneth Faried – Backup – PF Carlos Boozer and PF Julian Wright
    SF Danilo Gallinari – Backup – SF Darrell Arthur

    SG Ben McLemore – Backup – SG Evan Fornier
    PG Ty Lawson – Backup – Free Agent PG (there are a zillion available for cheap this year)

    And the MidLevel Exception of 5 million to lure the best wing player you can get (Luol Deng or something like that).

    Plus, if Orlando grabs a Point Guard such as Exum or Smart to go along with Olapido, see if they’d be interested in trading PF Julian Wright for wing Aaron Afflalo straight up…

    Next year the Nuggets would be bursting with cap space because of Boozer’s expiring contract for the crazy free agent crop possibilities (Lebron, Love, Carmello Anthony, Kevin Love, Lamarcus Aldritch, Chris Bosh, etc…)

    • Len Nunes

      Julian Wright is not a Denver Nugget.

      Arthur has never played small forward.

      I like the idea of including Hickson in a trade to Sacramento but until he plays in a game I can’t see the Kings taking the risk unless the Nuggets take Karl Landry back our way. Landry had surgery about 2 months after Hickson.

      • Schaumburg Kenny

        Sorry. Brain Freeze there… I *meant* Anthony Randolph (not the Mavericks’ Julian Wright). I always thought Arthur had the Athleticism to play some wing in short spurts. In that scenario, hopefully the Nuggets could lure someone like Trevor Ariza for the MidLevel exception to either hold down the Small Forward position or play *significant* backup minutes…

        Oh, and I forgot to say: “Very good, thought provoking article”… :-)

        • Len Nunes

          thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Craig A. Hunnel

    Love it

    Bring Gay with him
    Send Fournier, Faried, and Hickson and the 11th pick !!