clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Season in Review: The Ben McLemore experiment

A potential redemption story gone sour.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Check out previous entries in our Season in Review series here.

Ben McLemore

Season Player Efficiency Rating Total Shooting % Turnover % (per 100 poss.) Usage % Offensive Win Shares Defensive Win Shares Total Box +/- (per 100 poss. comp. to avg. player) Value Over Replacement Player
Season Player Efficiency Rating Total Shooting % Turnover % (per 100 poss.) Usage % Offensive Win Shares Defensive Win Shares Total Box +/- (per 100 poss. comp. to avg. player) Value Over Replacement Player
2017-18 9.7 0.526 13.2 19 -0.2 0.7 -3.6 -0.4
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com
Brandon Conner, NBA.com/Stats

7 wins. 49 losses.

6 out of every 7 games that Ben McLemore suited up for the Grizzlies this season, they lost.

This, is why many people came to nickname him the “Tank Commander.”

Oh yeah. So did I. But with good reason. Yeah, there’s the win-loss record I listed above. It’s so much more than that, though.

There’s the 16 games where Ben was a double digit plus-minus, including a ridiculous -34 in about 24 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 23rd at FedExForum, which was -15 more than the next closest Grizzly. That was during the stretch where Ben was -82 in 92 minutes over 5 games. Yikes.

When Ben was on the floor versus off the floor, it continued. Lower offensive efficiency, higher turnover rates, field goal percentage, yada-yada-yada.

It wasn’t all bad for Ben throughout the season. In the midst of the Grizzlies’ 19 game losing streak, Ben went on a run of six games where he scored in double digits. But that’s about it unfortunately.

The Grizzlies had hoped that getting Ben a change of scenery might be what it was going to take for the light bulb to go off in his head. That didn’t end up being the case.

Best Game:

January 19th versus the Sacramento Kings at FedExForum. Ben was a plus-9 in 27 minutes off the bench scoring 21 points. This game was the 3rd of a 3 game winning streak for the Grizz in January.

Worst Moment

Do I need to say anything else?

Ways To Improve:

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Ben is a physically gifted player. There’s no one I talked to all season that disagreed with that. The biggest problem I think McLemore has is between his ears. He routinely gets lost and out of position on defense. This is why his overall plus-minus is what it is. He just seems to struggle with knowing what he should be doing on the floor most of the time. I will say this, he was fairly respectable at the free throw line, shooting about 82%. It sounds easy and lazy to say, but he really needs to improve on most aspects of his game at this point.

Overall Grade:

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Depending on how you look at things, Ben was either a hero or a villain for this team. If you were in the “tank” camp, he’s the MVP. But if the goal is to WIN games, Ben was/is by far the worst player on this team. For all his faults, one thing I can’t fault him for is effort. McLemore went out there every night and gave it what he could. He was also very reliable from an injury standpoint in a season where most of the team’s guards couldn’t stay on the court, aside from his early season injury.

In the end, the move by the team to sign him to the 2-year, $10 million deal last off-season, could be looked at as one of the worst moves ever made by a front office that needs to hit home runs (or in this case at least hit a single), and not strike out swinging at the pitches bouncing in the dirt 3 feet in front of the plate.

Grade: D-

Follow @sbngrizzlies