Sacramento Kings

George Karl on McLemore’s struggles: ‘I think Ben’s fine’

Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives past Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) during the Kings 103 -110 loss at Sleep Train Arena Monday March 16, 2015 in Sacramento.
Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives past Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) during the Kings 103 -110 loss at Sleep Train Arena Monday March 16, 2015 in Sacramento. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Ben McLemore has struggled with his consistency lately.

He’s also dealing with a right forearm contusion.

McLemore’s coach doesn’t sound too concerned about the travails of the second-year guard.

“I think Ben’s fine,” Kings coach George Karl said. “He’s a young, talented player that’s going to be a 10-year player in the NBA. The question is, just how good is he going to be?”

Since scoring a season-high 27 points on March 11 at Charlotte, McLemore has averaged 6.2 points per game. He scored nine points Friday against Charlotte at Sleep Train Arena.

The Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday held McLemore scoreless for the second time in eight games.

The Kings could use his offense with leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins missing a second consecutive game with a right calf strain.

They could also use a spark from McLemore defensively. In the two games he failed to score, the opposing starter at shooting guard has played well.

J.J. Redick had 27 points for the Clippers. When the Orlando Magic shut out McLemore on March 6, Victor Oladipo had 32 points and 10 assists.

Karl said he’d need McLemore’s defense against the Hornets backcourt of Kemba Walker and Mo Williams.

Walker returned to the starting lineup for the first time since coming back from a knee injury.

Walker’s first game back was against the Kings on March 11.

“I might rotate the game a little earlier to get Ben back on the court when they (play Walker and Williams together),” Karl said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said starting Walker was to help “jump start” his progress. Williams had been starting after the team acquired him in a trade from Minnesota to help compensate for Walker’s absence.

“Mo Williams was part of that decision,” Clifford said. “He told me (Thursday) he thinks it’s hard when you’ve never come off the bench to do that, and he’s done it before, so I think it will work out well for all of us.”

Juggling lineups – Without Cousins, the Kings continue to experiment with different lineups.

Jason Thompson started at center for Cousins against the Hornets and Omri Casspi started at forward along with Rudy Gay.

The Kings have used 16 different starting lineups this season.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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