Houston Rockets: Ben McLemore’s sacrifice is paying huge dividends

Houston Rockets guard Ben McLemore (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard Ben McLemore (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets guard Ben McLemore sacrificed quite a bit to sign with the team this season, leaving things behind. What happened and how?

The Houston Rockets continue their impressive nine-game winning streak over the Sacramento Kings on the road & it appears that there’s no stopping them now as they head to the Bay Area.  Although they have to continue to take each opponent one game at a time, their biggest concern is not the Golden State Warriors in a Christmas Day matinee but the Brooklyn Nets this Saturday at Toyota Center.

It’s possible that this win streak could go into double-digits and stay there for quite some time but the most important part is that this team is showing a strong sense of cohesiveness, something I had wondered if and when that would happen this season.

They’re definitely ahead of schedule in regard to that notion and the James Harden and Russell Westbrook combination is working just fine as they seem to have excellent chemistry with each other.

Thank goodness — Harden has been trying to find a partner in crime since his arrival in Houston with experiments with Dwight Howard and Chris Paul crashing and burning.  But this time, it looks like it’s going to work and for a long time as both are still within the prime of their careers.

But while that ho-hum harmony is synchronous with one another, not enough emphasis has been given on the impact of Ben McLemore‘s presence with the Houston Rockets.

As I talked about this past offseason, he truly is morphing into the sixth man that I thought he’d be and I’ve always been fond of him in his days with the Sacramento Kings.  I had wondered what the Houston Rockets would be like if they were able to land him somehow.  That vision has now become a reality and we’re getting a taste of what’s that like.

His defense, three-point shooting as well as his newfound energy off the bench have helped this team soar to new heights amid Eric Gordon‘s recovery from arthroscopic surgery.  Gordon should be back in a few more weeks but McLemore, 26, has been feasting at the opportunity that’s in front of him.

By the way, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported after a sit-down interview that McLemore had

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multiple guaranteed offers on the table but took a partially-guaranteed deal with the Houston Rockets.  This contradicts other reports indicating that the former 2013 first-round pick was on his way out of the league.

He’s currently on a two-year, $4.3 million deal that will pay him $2.03 million this season and $2.28M for 2020-21 which is not guaranteed but can be if the Houston Rockets decide to exercise his option this offseason.

All signs are pointing for that to happen and 26-year-old may have found a new home with this team, at least for the short-term depending on team’s future salary cap situation, which will likely continue to be tight for the foreseeable future with Harden, Westbrook and Capela having $337 million worth of guaranteed salary tied up through 2023.

Next. Rockets: 10 emerging stats from the Harden-Westbrook venture. dark

I’m happy for his success and I hope it continues indefinitely for this guy as he deserves that second chance to go out there and be great.

McLemore has been averaging 10.4 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting .418/.364/.780 through 30 games — eight starts — this season.