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- Measurables: 6-foot-5, 180 pounds, sophomore guard from UConn
- Key Stats: 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals per game, 48 percent shooting, 34 percent 3-point shooting
- Projected: Lottery
- Hickory High Similarity Score
Why I like this guy
Big, defensive minded two guards who can shoot and don’t need to dominate the ball to be effective are a commodity in the NBA these days — think Arron Afflalo or Eric Gordon. I don’t know that he’ll get to their level, but Lamb is in their mold. He’s a lanky 6-foot-5, athletic, has range on his jumper and he’s a potential defensive stopper. In other words, he’s a prototypical new breed NBA shooting guard.
Pros for the Pistons
I don’t mean this as an affront to Brandon Knight necessarily, but Rodney Stuckey is still the best point guard on the Pistons roster. I’m a believer in Knight’s work ethic, I think he has upside, but the Pistons aren’t in a position to draft for need. Their need is exceptional players. If the Pistons end up picking near the bottom of the lottery, there’s a chance that Lamb could be a better option than reaching for a limited big man. Knight has yet to establish himself as even an average starting PG production-wise, Stuckey is at the very least average (and perhaps more dynamic in Lawrence Frank’s offense) as a full-time PG and Lamb could be the best available when the Pistons pick, depending on who goes where before. So, if a such a far-fetched scenario plays out, would the Pistons take a guard in the lottery?
A Lamb-Stuckey backcourt would be intriguing simply because of the size they’d have and matchup problems they’d create. As an effective player off the ball, Lamb could help both Stuckey and Greg Monroe by either stretching the floor with his spot-up shooting or by making sharp cuts to the basket and using his strong finishing ability. And as a team that is supposedly recommitting to a defensive philosophy under Lawrence Frank, a Stuckey-Lamb combo has the potential to be lockdown defensively if both guys commit to that end of the floor.
I hope the Pistons aren’t in a scenario where the best player available when they pick happens to be a guard, but it’s still a scenario fans should think about just in case it happens. And if it did happen, Lamb is the type of player I wouldn’t mind the Pistons adding, even if it did require some other roster shuffling.
Cons for the Pistons
There are definite problems to the scenario above. Namely, what to do with Knight? Opinions on him and his actual ceiling vary more widely than any young player I can remember recently. He has definite positive qualities that he brings, along with some weaknesses — despite technically being the ‘shooting’ guard, Stuckey still handles the ball and initiates the offense more than Knight and turns it over far less.
The question really boils down to whether Lamb at shooting guard is an upgrade over Knight at point guard? I don’t have a good answer to that question. If the Pistons believe Lamb is better and take him, that will be two straight lotteries where they’ve ignored a glaring need up front and drafted a player at a position where they have some roster depth. I’m not sure Detroit is willing to do that.
As for Lamb’s weaknesses, the one thing I’d be concerned about is the fact that his 3-point shooting declined from a good 37 percent mark last year to a more pedestrian 34 percent this year.
I think Lamb’s defensive capability makes him a fit with the Pistons and what they’re trying to build. Whether they’d consider him depends on how much faith they have that Knight-Stuckey is the long-term solution as the starting backcourt.
What others are saying
The Good: Lamb is a super lanky wing player who can score from just about anywhere on the floor. He’s mastered the art of the midrange game and is equally adept at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket.
The Bad: He’s struggled with the role of alpha dog in the absence of Kemba Walker. Occasionally he shows the ability to take over games, but he can also just disappear. He too could use a few more pounds on that frame.
The Upside: Lamb’s draft stock got a huge bump in the NCAA tournament last year. He’s struggled — a little — to live up to the hype his freshman performance created, but he’s still a very good NBA prospect.
Defensively, Lamb has the physical tools to excel, as he has good lateral quickness and instincts and is able to utilize his tremendous wingspan to cause havoc on the ball and in the passing lanes. His energy on this end looked very inconsistent this season, however, not displaying the competitiveness, fundamentals and attention to detail that will likely be demanded from him at the NBA level, particularly off the ball.
Lamb’s ability to make plays off the dribble, his late blooming status, physical and athletic tools, potential on D, and versatility has made him a hot name in scouting circles and among NBA execs…There will be a lot of eyes on him this upcoming season to see how he performs in a completely different role and with all-everything G Kemba Walker off to the NBA … Despite not coming home with gold, his play in the U19 World Championships in Riga, Latvia was extremely encouraging.
Unlike last season where UConn’s most prolific scorer (Kemba Walker) started possessions with the ball in his hand, Jeremy Lamb requires a functioning offense to get his points. Where Walker could create his own shots and shots for others, Lamb gets his shots in the flow of the offense. I think this, as much as anything, has contributed to the awkward offensive interaction between Lamb, Shabazz Napier and the rest of the team. Lamb should be the team’s go-to-guy, but struggles to create for himself and needs a competent team offense to score.
What is the best thing Jeremy Lamb does for his team?
Jeremy Lamb will be in the NBA for a long time to come. Although he would most likely be best suited as a role player on a contender, Lamb is a valuable scoring option to have on any team. His incredible length and work ethic makes his potential very attractive. After two years at UConn, he was more than ready to make the jump to the NBA. As a freshman, he progressed into arguably the second-best player on the team behind Kemba Walker. At times during the Huskies’ postseason run to a Big East and NCAA national championship, Walker deferred to Lamb on offense, even during clutch moments. Lamb is a cool character who shows little emotion and keeps his game-face on and off the court. As exhibited at times during his sophomore campaign, Lamb is not a vocal leader who will take charge of a locker room. Home-schooled during his youth, Lamb is a quiet, reserved player that lets his game speak for itself.
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