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Improving Ben McLemore snubbed for All-Star Weekend showcase

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Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, center, drives to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies forward James Johnson, right, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. The Grizzlies won 99-89.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, center, drives to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies forward James Johnson, right, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. The Grizzlies won 99-89.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By all accounts, Sacramento rookie guard Ben McLemore is doing all he can to become a better NBA player.

Earlier this week, the Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones had a story on that very subject. Even on days off — when players have the freedom to do whatever they please — McLemore hits the weights and works on his game.

McLemore spoke with Jones about some of the aspects of his game that he tries to address:

“I was telling coach (Chris) Jent and coach Dee (Brown) the things we’ve been working on I’ve been perfecting out there on the court,” McLemore said. “I’m more comfortable dribbling the ball, coming off screens and handling it and creating shots for myself. I’m definitely comfortable and I want to continue to grow.”


He put some of those skills to use earlier this week, on his way to 18 points against Denver.

Despite his development, McLemore wasn't one of the nine NBA rookies chosen to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge, a showcase game for first- and second-year players at the NBA's upcoming All-Star Weekend, in New Orleans.

McLemore averages 7.9 points and 2.8 rebounds through 45 games this season for the Kings. He's shooting 36.8 percent from the floor. Below is his shot chart. (Red is below the NBA average for that area of the floor, yellow is about average and green is above average.)

2013-14 Ben McLemore shot chart, through Jan. 30, 2014.

2013-14 Ben McLemore shot chart, through Jan. 30, 2014.

Here's the weird thing about McLemore's omission: he is fifth among NBA rookies in scoring. The only first-year players averaging more than the Sacramento shooting guard are Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando's Victor Oladipo, Utah's Trey Burke and New York's Tim Hardaway Jr. All five of them made the cut. (Go to BleacherReport.com for a full list of Rising Stars Challenge participants.)

Surely, McLemore must be disappointed about the snub. But the rook seems wise beyond his years in his response to the selections.

None by Ben McLemore


Taylor signs on with D-League's Red Claws

Cut by the New Orleans Pelicans last week, Tyshawn Taylor has a new home.

It's just not in the NBA. The D-League's Maine Red Claws announced Thursday they signed the guard out of Kansas and he's expected to join the team on Sunday.

The Red Claws are an affiliate of the Boston Celtics.

Whether Taylor proves himself worthy of a spot in the NBA in the next couple of months — with Boston or another team — remains to be seen. We'll find out in the weeks to come how he responds to a new situation — and one he likely didn't anticipate being in at this point of the season.


Arthur returns to Nuggets lineup

Charlotte Bobcats center Cody Zeller, left, stops Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur as he works the ball inside for a shot in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Charlotte Bobcats center Cody Zeller, left, stops Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur as he works the ball inside for a shot in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The man known around KU basketball as "Shady" got back on the floor this week for Denver. Darrell Arthur had missed seven games with a strained hip, and played for the first time since Jan. 11 on Wednesday against Charlotte.

Arthur played 17 minutes in his typical role, off the bench, and surpassed his season average (5.7 a game) with seven points for Denver.

The 6-foot-9 forward even buried a three-pointer in the final minute to get the Nuggets within a point, but the Bobcats went on to win.


Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.

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