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Lakers Season In Review: Ben McLemore

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Ben McLemore did well in his limited role, but was it enough for him to be a priority for the Lakers in free agency?

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2021 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to our annual Lakers season in review series, where we’ll be taking a look back at every player on the team’s roster this season, evaluating their play, and deciding if they should be a part of the organization’s future. Today, we take a closer look at Ben McLemore.

How did he play?

When his shots were falling, great!

When his shots weren’t falling, he wasn’t so great, and unfortunately for him, his shots stopped going in at the worst time for the Lakers.

After going 2-3 from 3-point range in Game 4 of the Lakers’ series against the Phoenix Suns, he went 0-5 from the field and 0-2 from behind the arc in Game 5. During a time where his team needed shooting, he couldn’t provide it for them, which was a problem because his shooting was the main reason he was brought in.

Before the postseason, McLemore was hitting his 3-point shots at a pretty efficient clip (36.8% on 5.4 attempts per game). He also did a decent job at contesting shots on the perimeter, which made his other defensive shortcomings stand out less. All in all, he played his role pretty well, especially for a late-season acquisition.

What is his contract situation moving forward?

McLemore will be an unrestricted free agent and the Lakers will have his non-bird rights, meaning that the most they can offer him in free agency without using cap space is 120% of the veteran’s minimum. Luckily, it shouldn’t take more than that for the Lakers to bring him back if there’s mutual interest.

Should he be back?

It’s no secret the Lakers need shooting. The question is: is McLemore the best they can do this summer when it comes to adding 3-point shooting? Probably not.

Not only will the Lakers have the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but they’re projected to have the taxpayer mid-level exception worth approximately $5.89 million, the latter of which they can theoretically use to add a more reliable 3-point threat and at a position of need like small forward. The Lakers are expected to have plenty of guards once again next season.

That’s not to say McLemore shouldn’t be an option for the Lakers; he just shouldn’t be their first option. Then again, he’s still a Klutch Sports client, so who knows?

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.