Lakers Sign Recently Released Sharpshooting Guard: Report

ben mclemore

Getty New Los Angeles Lakers guard Ben McLemore.

Even with the signing of Andre Drummond, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to add a bit more help. Their biggest need for most of the season has been 3-point shooting, where the team is currently shooting 35.1% from beyond the arc, which is ranked 24th in the NBA.

The Lakers weren’t able to find a shooter on the trade market but they found one in free agency. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Ben McLemore is signing with the team for the remainder of the season.

McLemore was just recently let go by the Houston Rockets after spending a season-and-a-half with the team. Though he’s only shooting 33.1% on 3-pointers this season, he shot over 40% each of the last two seasons. If he can break out of his slump, he’ll be a major improvement for the Lakers.

This will be McLemore’s fourth team in the NBA. He started his career with the Sacramento Kings, who made him the No. 7 pick in the 2013 NBA draft (one ahead of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), and spent one season with the Memphis Grizzlies. The 28-year-old guard averages 8.9 points a game over his career.

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McLemore Shares an Agent With LeBron James & Anthony Davis

As Charania noted, McLemore is represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. That’s the same agency that represents current Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Klutch Sports clients seem to be a tight-knit group so it’s no surprise that McLemore would like to finish out the season in Los Angeles.

In addition to Davis, LeBron and McLemore, Klutch Sports also represents Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and Talen Horton-Tucker. The Lakers are becoming a serious hub for players represented by Paul, far more than any other team. Three NBA teams have two players represented by Paul, but no other teams have more than one Klutch player.


What Is McLemore’s Role on the Team?

With the McLemore signing, it’s clear that the Lakers don’t fully trust Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Wes Matthews to break out of their shooting slumps. The two normally reliable shooters haven’t been great this year and it’s really hurt Los Angeles. KCP started the year hot, but since late January (34 games), he has shot only 32.5%. Matthews has shot 31.3% in his last 32 games.

McLemore is also in a bit of a slump so the Lakers will have to be hoping that the change of scenery helps him out. He hasn’t been a full-time starter since the 2014-2015 season, so he’s more than likely coming off the bench. He should have plenty to do as Charania said that McLemore had other suitors in free agency.

The Lakers wanted some depth at the wing and they found it with McLemore. If he can get back to shooting over 40% from three, he’ll be incredibly valuable for the team. He doesn’t have very much playoff experience so it’s hard to know how he’ll play in important games.  Last season was the first time he saw playoff action. The Lakers faced him in the second round of the playoffs last year and he went 6-for-16 shooting on 3-point attempts.

Perhaps having less pressure to perform will help him hit shots more consistently. Still, the Lakers need him to add something to their perimeter game. Heading into the stretch run, McLemore has a much better chance of being an impact player for the Lakers than midseason pickups J.R. Smith or Dion Waiters did last year.

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