Due to the hype of the Los Angeles Lakers signing Andre Drummond and inserting him into the starting lineup, it’s easy to forget about the other buyout signing, Ben McLemore. Due to injuries, McLemore has played a larger than expected role in Frank Vogel’s rotation, seeing minutes in every single game since signing.
His numbers aren’t overwhelming, averaging a modest 8.6 points per game while shooting 36.2% from three. However, he’s had a couple of performances during his month with the Lakers that could earn him a spot in the postseason rotation.
Vogel was non-committal when discussing what McLemore need to do to be in the rotation come playoff time, but still had kind words to say. “We’ll see. I’m very confident in what he brings to the table. He’s either making shots or bringing the defense with him because he carries that threat, he brings that gravity to the floor. We’re happy with what he brings to the team.”
Even if McLemore doesn’t hit every shot, it’s important to have a guy like him in the game when the Lakers are in need of spacing. Having a player that — at any moment — could get hot from three and wreck an entire team’s defensive game plan is vital in the postseason when games tighten up.
If the Lakers are fully healthy for the playoffs, it’s hard to see exactly how McLemore gets consistent minutes. However, he can still provide value in the time he does get, as there will always be a place in the modern NBA for a player with his skill sets.
Vogel has just a few more regular-season games to figure out what he wants his team to look like when elimination is on the line. If that involved McLemore, then he’ll need to be prepared to hit shots in big moments when called upon. If not, he’ll have to adopt the Lakers mantra of staying ready.
Vogel discusses difficulty of adjustment phase
With all the injuries that have hit the Lakers, it’s difficult for Vogel to come up with a consistent rotation that works for everyone. He’s constantly having to shift players around based on who’s available, and it’s not helping anything as the Lakers try to avoid the play-in tournament. “But we’re in an adjustment phase like we’ve been in all year. We don’t have either of our two primary quarterbacks and even Talen, so the odds were stacked against us in a situation like this.
“But very proud of how our guys competed and had an opportunity to pull off a very difficult win. So proud of that, compete like we did tonight against Phoenix then I feel confident we’re gonna win that game and that’ all we can control.”
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