Published on February 11th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist1
2012 NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch: Jeremy Lamb
Name: Jeremy Lamb
Hometown: Norcross, GA
Physicals: 6′ 5″, 185 lbs, 19 years old
NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Current Stats: 17.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 2.3 TPG, 47.3% FG, 853.5% FT, 35.0% 3P
Stepping out of the shadow of Huskie legend Kemba Walker, sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb has had a very good season and has set himself as a near lock for the lottery should he come out in 2012.
Lamb has all the scoring abilities you look for in a wingman—he’s very quick, able to get to the basket despite his skinny frame, and is deceptively athletic. He’s also an excellent shooter with fantastic range, and with his complete package and natural scoring instincts, he’ll be able to make an immediate impact in the NBA.
The one concern on the scoring end for Lamb is his size. He’s got the right height for the position, and the arms of a power forward, but while he can use his quickness and hops to score easily in the NCAA, his 185 pounds will be a serious issue in the NBA. He’s far too skinny and really needs to bulk up.
With his athleticism and super long frame he’s a good defender, but he’ll need to improve his technique in the NBA. He’ll never be a lockdown defender for sure, but he has good instincts and is a fairly good ball hawk, getting 1.4 steals a contest.
Lamb struggles from the same disease that is striking the whole of the UConn squad—he’s not really a leader. This isn’t really a problem, especially when he’s going to the NCAA, but the Huskies, despite being very talented, are unable to find consistency in their game and really, REALLY miss Walker’s leadership.
He’s also a bit too laid back at times, and there are some questions about his work ethic. Certainly he’s show remarkable improvement since last season, which speaks highly of his will to improve, but you can see on the court at times he just doesn’t seem to care as much as you’d expect from a guy with lottery level talent.
The bigger problem for Lamb is his shot selection, which is very poor at times. But we saw last season that he readily defers to a true #1 option—he was great as second fiddle to Kemba—so there is confidence that when he gets into the NBA, he’s not going to demand the ball and cause problems.
Draft Watch: The general consensus about Lamb is he’ll end up in the later lottery (although as obvious by NBADraft.net, which has him at 5th over guys like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones, scouts are still split).
Luckily for Lamb, a good number of teams from the 8-13 area could use a shooting guard with such excellent scoring talents. Utah could be one, if they decide that Alec Burks is already not a sure-fire starter, although their need is far greater for a point guard and I would not be surprised to see them trade out of the lottery.
Another fit would be Cleveland, where he could fit well alongside Kyrie Irving. As he was with Kemba Walker, he’d not being the top option when he’s playing next to a superstar.
A final fit could be Phoenix. The Suns really really lack for talented wing players, and a youngster like Lamb with the potential that he has could be a Godsend. If Nash remains in Phoenix (I doubt he’ll be there come the trading deadline) he could help give Lamb some leadership and maybe work on his dedication issues.
The bigger question when the draft draws nearer for teams who are considering Lamb—who between Lamb and Florida’s Bradley Beal is a better player? Beal is a better ball handler and actually has some point guard skills, but their potentials are a toss-up. While the big attention will be on the bigs in the draft as Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson and Perry Jones jockey for position, the fight for top shooting guard is simply between Beal and Lamb.
Conclusion: His scoring talents give him a great case to be the top shooting guard in this draft, but his size issues, along with concerns about his intensity during games lower him a bit. Still, he’s a lock to go lottery.
Photo Credit: Chris Williams/Icon SMI