Are the Raptors suddenly sleeping a bit on UCONN's Lamb?
HQ Correspondent Jeyan Jeganathan takes a look at a player that might be flying a bit under the radar all of a sudden in this upcoming draft....
The 2012 NBA Draft is just a few hours away and although it's still unclear who the Toronto Raptors will pick the list of potential prospects has been reduced to a select few. There has been a lot of talk about the Raptors choosing NCAA leading scorer Damian Lillard, the explosive sixth man for the Syracuse Orange-Dion Waiters, and my favourite, the smooth swingman from the University of Connecticut, Jeremy Lamb.
Unfortunately the Raptors organization was unable to see Lamb as up close and personal as they would have liked after he rolled his ankle shortly into his workout here in Toronto.
But that doesn't mean they aren't familiar with is play.
The 6'5 guard led the Connecticut Huskies in scoring at 17.7 ppg, grabbed nearly 5 rpg and was named to the Big East first team in his sophomore year. Lamb is considered the second best shooting guard in this year's draft behind Florida's Bradley Beal. In his two seasons with the Huskies, Lamb has shown a wide array of weapons in his offensive arsenal as well as his athletic prowess. He was a key part in Connecticut's improbable run at winning the 2011 NCAA national championship and also the led the 2011 US U19 FIBA team in scoring.
Lamb has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor.His 7-foot wingspan allows him to play much bigger and could potentially be a lockdown defender at the two-guard position. Unlike Waiters and Lillard, Lamb still provides the offensive productivity and perimeter scoring the Raptors desperately lacking, but doesn't give up anything on the defensive side. Lamb's length helps him playing the passing lanes and he has some explosive hops. It would be interesting to see how dynamic he would be if paired up with DeMar DeRozan in the open court.
"To get where we want to go, you're going to need shooters. Again, a guy like DeMar [DeRozan] is going to get better just through repetition," said Dwane Casey at the end of season press conference. "I'm not saying our guys can't do that. But we need to add shooters and skilled players like that to our roster."
Lamb shot 60 per cent from two-point range has a great touch around the rim. Although he was highly criticized during the Huskies' disappointing season and throughout the draft workout process for his apathetic attitude, the kid should not be slept on. Lamb is a natural scorer with the ability to read defenses, create his own shot, and possesses a good inside-out game.
Lamb more than doubled his three-point attempts last season and only saw a small drop in his three-point percentage, .368 per cent to .336 per cent. Let's not forget his fantastic run at the NCAA tournament a year ago where Lamb went 11-15 from behind the arc, the highest all-time percentage by a player that reached the Final Four.
The slender Lamb needs to add some weight and strength to his body, but his athletic profile already makes him one of the more versatile players in this year's draft. The Georgia native is expected to go anywhere from 8 to 15.
The Raptors could possibly trade down with the Houston Rockets in exchange for one of their three picks and possibly Kyle Lowry. If Lillard and Waiters are off the board you can expect Colangelo to give Lamb a good look at No. 8. Lamb won't be a franchise changer by any means, but he does encompass the skills to be a solid role player in the league and possibly better trade bait.
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