Ben McLemore says he's gunning for Rookie of the Year award

USA TODAY Sports

The Kings rookie wants to make a big-time impression in his first season in the NBA.

Though entering the NBA with a reputation as a player willing to take a backseat to teammates, Ben McLemore surely doesn't lack confidence. In an interview with KUSports.com, McLemore said that he plans to compete for the Rookie of the Year award.

"I feel I've been through a lot. I feel I am going to work hard to get Rookie of the Year. I know the mindset I'm going to come in and show everybody I could be the alpha dog and win that Rookie of the Year. I'm definitely going to work hard to get that," McLemore added.

Having that confidence -- especially after an iffy Summer League -- is fantastic. In reality, it's going to be tough. McLemore will have to beat Marcus Thornton for minutes at shooting guard; ROY winners usually finish at or near the top of table in rookie minutes. Twenty minutes a game isn't going to cut it.

More important than ROY is developing NBA range, a dribble-drive game, some passing skills and defensive aptitude. I trust the coaching staff is taking the long view on McLemore, and I hope the player does so as well. Vivek's statements that wins and losses won't matter in 2013-14 apply to McLemore more than any other player: seeing how he adapts to the NBA level and plays within the system is far more important than what numbers he puts up.

That said, having goals is a good thing. I think we would all be very excited if McLemore wins ROY.

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