They used to call it one of the best draft classes of the last 25 years. Now, it’s looking more and more like Anthony Davis… and then everybody else. Still, on June 28, the 2012 NBA Draft will bring hope, and hopefully new talent to some teams that desperately need it.
As we do every year, Dime will be holding you down with Mock Drafts, player interviews and diaries (you should check out Dion Waiters‘ draft diary), and we will also be bringing you draft profiles for every potential prospect deemed worthy. With this year’s crop of talent, that list is long. Our last profile was on Weber State’s junior Damian Lillard. This week’s profile is on University of Connecticut’s sophomore shooting guard Jeremy Lamb.
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Best case: Richard Hamilton
Worst case: James Anderson
Final comparison: Nick Young
(on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being overseas talent and 10 being NBA Rookie of the Year)
Jeremy Lamb’s main intrigue is his athletic ability. I mean did you see his dunk against Columbia this year? He has ideal size and above average length for the NBA shooting guard position. When Lamb closes out on defense, he does such a great job of covering a vast amount of ground in so little time. This part of the evaluation is simple: Lamb has all the tools to hang with anybody in the NBA athletically. He just needs to improve his strength, but what NBA prospect doesn’t?
There are a lot of misconceptions about Lamb when it comes to the skill portion of his game. He is a very smooth player that does a good job of making everything look easy on offense, but he isn’t as skilled as many think. Lamb has a nice midrange game and can knock down the three-pointer but there is not much else he can do offensively. He showed improvement this past year on isolation plays but that is still a major hole in his game. Despite his great athleticism, he does not have the ballhandling ability to match. Lamb tends to get lost on offense because he tends to just stand around a lot of the time. He will be a good spot-up shooter in the NBA but don’t expect him to be creating offense for anyone but himself.
Lamb’s biggest weakness at this point is his lack of strength. Every single player that has came to the NBA as a rookie with a wiry frame like Lamb’s has struggled in their first season. This past season he shot 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. His main contribution right away will be his shooting and if he cannot consistently knock down shots, there is not much he can bring to the table. While 36.8 percent is not bad overall, this does not show Lamb’s inconsistency with his outside shot as the season went on. This chart by StatSheet.com shows how Lamb hit the wall a bit with his three-point shooting percentages as the year went on:
Defensively, Lamb should be able to contribute but his approach has to improve. There were so many times this year when Lamb did not help on defense or got burned. He has physical attributes that few have and getting beat on defense is something that just should not happen to Lamb, especially in the college game.
Lamb has a great deal of upside as a top-notch role player in the NBA. There are so few spot-up shooters with his size and athleticism. His upside on defense is extremely high as his wingspan will give smaller guards nightmares. We saw in the playoffs how Paul George‘s length affected Dwyane Wade‘s play and Lamb has that same type of length to become a lockdown defender. He is not there yet but when Lamb concentrates on defense, it is flat-out scary.
The most troubling part about Lamb is his lack of intangibles. He is not a bad kid. Unfortunately, he plays with a lackadaisical manner. As we saw at UConn and the U19 FIBA World Championship, Lamb is not much of a leader. It can be extremely frustrating watching Lamb takeover games and look like Richard Hamilton one day and the other day he can be a non-factor. Lamb needs more consistency in his effort. In the NBA, you cannot take plays off.
Combined score: 34 out of 50 possible points
Jeremy Lamb can be a versatile spot-up shooter but he can also be a one-dimensional scorer. The talent and tools are at Lamb’s disposal. How he will use them seems to be up in the air.
Best fit: Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie Irving needs that future backcourt teammate and Lamb would be the perfect fit. Lamb has everything that Irving does not. Irving struggled mightily on defense this past season and Lamb could guard the opposing team’s best scoring threat. Lamb would benefit from Irving’s playmaking ability. It seems like the perfect match for a franchise looking to add young, promising pieces. It will all depend on how the ping-pong balls roll as it is unlikely that the Cavaliers would pick Lamb third in the draft, which is their projected position at this point.
“I’ve always been a big Jeremy Lamb fan. The way he scores the ball looks so easy and effortless. He has a perfect body for the NBA. What’s not to like? I feel like people over analyzed this UConn team because the expectations were too high. People should not be so down on the kid for having such a disappointing season. He is the next great UConn shooting guard in line. Look how [Jim] Calhoun prepared Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, and Ben Gordon. Lamb will be fine.” – An anonymous, lifelong UConn fan.
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