Why I'm not worried about Ben McLemore

USA TODAY Sports

Just when you thought the rookie had figured it out, bam.

So Ben McLemore followed up a brilliant Tuesday game at the Vegas Summer League (26 points on 8-14 shooting largely against an actual NBA player, Toronto's Terrence Ross) with an 0-8 cringer on Wednesday in a blowout loss to the Wolves. The Kings are now 0-4 for Vegas with one last consolation game remaining on Friday. McLemore is shooting 28 percent from the floor and 18 percent from long-range. He has zero assists in 115 minutes, and 14 turnovers. It's not been a very good week. He shot 7-10 in the second half on Tuesday ... he's 9-47 the rest of the week. Jimmer Fredette is like, "Dang, that's bad."

But ...

1. McLemore is 20 years old. He's so young he can't even see his peak with binoculars.

2. It's Summer League. As the final results of the game indicate, the Kings' squad isn't exactly stacked with talent. No second- or third-year NBA-level players, and only one other guy (Ray McCallum) who is even semi-likely to be in an NBA rotation next season. Even by Summer League standards this is a thin team. At least most squads have their 2012 first-rounder in place. Ours is playing for Portland.

3. It's Summer League. McLemore finished his first post-high school season in March, trained for the draft, worked out for a few teams and got plopped into Vegas to learn a system and NBA range and NBA speed and all of that.

4. It's Summer League. McLemore's 0-8 came in his third game in three days. He played a combined 63 minutes on Monday and Tuesday.

5. It's Summer League.

We've seen players transition to the NBA flawlessly, like Tyreke Evans. We've seen players struggle at first and then figure it out and excel. See Martin, Kevin. We've seen players struggle to figure it out with a number of extenuating circumstances (Jimmer, with the rotation and coaching) and without those circumstances (Quincy Douby). Stage 1 has not been easy for McLemore. Maybe Stage 2 (preseason) will be rough too, and heck, maybe even Stage 3 (rookie season). But that won't determine what kind of NBA player McLemore will be in the end. This fan base should know as well as anyone that what a player does as a rookie doesn't guarantee anything one way or the other. The last two great shooting guards the team has had, Martin and Evans, are a perfect example.

In conclusion, it's Summer League. Chillax.

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