Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore is looking to add consistency to his game on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Outside of basketball, he's also looking to express himself this summer through another passion - rapping.
The 22-year-old guard is hoping to release a mixtape in July. The compilation will feature songs about his life, how he grew up and his family and friends. McLemore was raised by a single mother in a 600-square-foot home in the suburbs of St. Louis with five other siblings. He once told USA Today that he would sometimes go days without food. One of those siblings is his brother, who is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence. Two of the songs on his mixtape are already available on YouTube, one of which includes McLemore speaking about his brother and features a telephone conversation between the two.
(For those sensitive to foul language, cover your ears.)
The second song titled "Dreams Never Die" features McLemore speaking to several family members.
McLemore, who held his youth basketball camp in Sacramento this week, said he began rapping at the University of Kansas. The athletic guard doesn't expect rapping to be anything more than a hobby and at this point he just wants to gauge what type of reception his music receives.
"I want people to hear my music to see what they think about it," McLemore told Sactown Royalty. "I've got some nice feedback."
McLemore received decent feedback on his basketball game last season - he averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists. His field goal percentage jumped from 37 to 43 percent and from 32 percent to 35 percent from three, to go along with better perimeter defense. But while he showed growth, there is still a lot more he needs to improve to become a legitimate starting shooting guard in the NBA. He'll be the first one to tell you he could have played more consistently on both sides of the ball. He points to the fact that he still got down on himself when he missed shots as a reason why his offense didn't always click on all cylinders last season. Defensively, he wants to work on getting into, and staying in, the mindset of locking down his defender on a nightly basis no matter who it is.
"This upcoming year, I want to make another leap," McLemore said. "I'm going to work hard this summer, it's just the type of player I am."
A good summer is what Vlade Divac, Kings vice president of basketball and franchise operations, asked of him during his exit interview, McLemore said. The hope is that he can replicate the amount of progress he made from season one to season two in season three.
McLemore said head coach George Karl's system will be helpful going into next season.
"I think my skillset and his system collapse together, it fits perfect in what he's trying to do with this program so I'm very excited for this upcoming season," McLemore said. "I feel like I'm a big part of what he's trying to do."
We'll have to wait until fall to see what improvements McLemore made this offseason. In the meantime, take a break from Chris Webber's "2 Much Drama" album and check out what McLemore has to offer.