History: In his first year as a Rocket, McLemore has given his career a revival. He’s averaging 9.8 points per game while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the three-point line. He’s been one of the first guys off the bench for much of the season, but has also logged 19 starts with the team.
Outlook: McLemore is in a sticky situation as part of the deep rotation of wings and is fighting for minutes against Eric Gordon and Danuel House.
There’s an argument that McLemore deserves more minutes based on the team’s net rating while he’s on the floor over Gordon and House.
I looked at lineup data for the Rockets post-Capela trade. These are the 5-man lineups that have played at least 15 mins since then.— Andrew Soukup (@asoukuptx) July 8, 2020
The core group of Harden, Russ, RoCo, and PJ is really good! Doesn't matter who plays with them. Just look at that lineup with McLemore; +28.9! pic.twitter.com/w0k6BkYtAv
Granted, the sample size is small with just 18 total minutes played, but all of these are small sample sizes given that they are only the rotations used after the team acquired Robert Covington at the trade deadline.
Danuel House was the starter at the 3 before the season was suspended, and that will likely be the case when the season resumes. Eric Gordon will probably also finish games, as he has done frequently for the Rockets the past four seasons.
However, don’t count out McLemore. That staggering 28.9 net rating has to be enough for McLemore to get some more run with that first unit and he could be in that perfect place to knock down a corner three.
McLemore is also one of the fastest Rockets on the court, which helps them run their 5-out, small-ball system even more effectively.
There are weaknesses in his game on the defensive end, but if he’s placed out there with Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker, his defensive woes can be shielded and forgiven by an all-out offensive attack.
Mike D’Antoni will likely shrink his rotation come playoff time, which could mean McLemore’s minutes take a dive or a complete erasure. However, McLemore has earned playoff minutes this year and not having him on the floor could be a major mistake.