Based on the early returns, it looks like Ben McLemore is just what the Los Angeles Lakers needed. In just his second game with the team, he made five of 10 3-point attempts. He was a big reason the Lakers beat the Brooklyn Nets despite being very shorthanded.
McLemore’s 17-point performance was a big talking point on social media and even elicited a response from Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal.
Though Beal and McLemore have never played on a team together, both men are from St. Louis, Missouri. The newest Lakers guard responded to Beal’s comments.
If McLemore can keep hitting 50% of his threes for Los Angeles, he’s going to be a serious problem for opposing teams.
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McLemore Talks About How He Got out of Shooting Slump
While McLemore made over 40% off his threes over the last two seasons, he’s been in a slump this year. He’s only shooting 33.5% from beyond the arc. His Lakers debut wasn’t very promising. He didn’t make a single three in that game. The first half against the Nets on Saturday was also rough but he explained how he was able to get back on track.
“I obviously didn’t shoot it well in the first half but all I kept hearing was ‘keep shooting, keep shooting,’ and obviously that’s what I’ve got to continue to do, and I did,” McLemore said on Saturday. “I hit a few in a row, got us going and obviously got the big win tonight.”
McLemore believes that it’s pretty easy for him to get into a rhythm.
“Once I see one go in, it’s a wrap from there,” McLemore said. “Then I start making a few more and then I start rolling. It don’t take much for me to get hot, especially when I see one go in that was sweet. Then I’ve got guys that are backing me up, continuing to build my confidence within myself to go out there and continue to shoot.”
The Lakers have had an issue with 3-point shooting over the last two years. Last season, Markieff Morris came in after getting bought out and became an important shooter for the team in the playoffs. It’s easy to see McLemore having that kind of impact this season.
Frank Vogel Chimes in on McLemore’s Big Night
It’s easy for a player to fall into a slump when he’s on a bad team. The Houston Rockets might be the NBA’s worst team since they traded James Harden. McLemore was likely struggling so much this season due to the fact that his team was a mess. Now he gets to play for the defending champs. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is very excited about what he brings to the team.
“I think Ben is a quick learner,” Vogel said. “He’s a great shooter and he’s hearing ‘Hey, these are the shots you want me to take? Okay. I will definitely shoot those.’ What impressed me about Ben’s night the most is some of the bad pass threes he made. He made a three where he had to jump just to catch it and rose up — that’s a hard shot — and then he made another three where he had to reach down to his shoelaces and rise up, and he made that one.
“He’s here for a reason, we’re excited to have him and what a great night for him tonight.”