The Lakers signed McLemore late in the season, adding another 3-point shooter to the arsenal. The former first-round pick didn’t blow away expectations but was able to step up when the team dealt with injury troubles, scoring 8.0 points in just over 17 minutes per game, shooting nearly 37% from beyond the arc.
The Lakers won’t have a ton of flexibility this offseason in free agency, although McLemore likely wouldn’t cost more than a minimum deal if they were to bring him back.
“It was a great opportunity to play with LeBron and AD,” McLemore said recently when approached by a TMZ cameraman. “Two of the top players in the league. Great group of guys playing here in LA.”
So will he be back in purple and gold next season?
“We’ll see man. It’s a business,” McLemore told TMZ. “All I’m worried about is getting back in that gym and spending some quality time with my family.”
McLemore’s statement to the paparazzi goes hand in hand with what the 28-year-old said during his exit interview.
“They gave me a great opportunity to be here and be part of this great organization,” McLemore told reporters. “I did exactly what they expected me to do. We definitely had high expectations and obviously, last night was tough — it’s going to be tough for a while — but this is a great organization that’s bounced back from things like this before.”
Ben McLemore: Without AD Injury Lakers Still in Playoffs
McLemore was also asked about the Lakers’ first-round exit. He was prompted with the question “would the Lakers still be playing if Anthony Davis didn’t get injured.”
“Everybody knows that,” McLemore responded.
“So you guys would have got past the Suns?” the interviewer asked.
“Next question,” McLemore said, starting to walk away.
For now, McLemore will wait patiently for his next opportunity. He played for the Rockets prior to landing with the Lakers. He appeared in 32 games for Houston this season, averaging 7.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 16.8 minutes per game.
In 471 career games — 260 of those starts for Houston, Sacramento, and Memphis — he averaged 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 23.1 minutes per game.
Rob Pelinka Wants to Add Shooters to Lakers Roster
There were times against the Suns when the Lakers could not buy a bucket, especially from deep. LA shot 29.9 percent on 3-pointers in the postseason, failing to capitalize on open shots.
Adding more quality shooters is a key for Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. going forward.
“You can never have enough shooting,” Pelinka said. “So it’s something that is always at the top of our mind whether we’re building or constructing a roster. And I think it’s important, too – part of shooting is having special players that create the shooting space. And for us, that comes primarily from LeBron and Anthony. And of course, you bring up the series, but when you take someone like Anthony out of the games, it changes the spacing and the shooting success.
“And everyone knows – LeBron talked about it last night – we knew when he had a high ankle sprain that it would probably not be until the offseason that got 100 percent. But the success of our shooting is driven by those guys creating the space, and because of the things we faced with injuries, some of that space was altered.”