After failing to pump out five player profiles last week, Doron Lamb of Kentucky receives his own spot-light today. Lamb currently falls towards the late-first round or early second round in mock drafts and may intrigue the Cavs at 24; especially if they nab a non-shooter in the top three (I’m talking about you: Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-GIlchrist. The Draft Lottery is Wednesday – Come on, ping pong balls!).
Lamb finished his sophomore year a National Champ and turns 21 in November. Standing around 6’ – 4” or 6’ – 5”, with 6’ – 7” wingspan, he has reasonable length for an NBA shooting guard. Despite entering college as a McDonald’s all-American, Lamb gladly accepted his duties as a role player for the Wildcats, functioning as their ace-marksman, secondary ball-handler, and a solid cog in a top-tier defense. His offensive rating of 127.5 ranked eleventh in the NCAA; largely aided by blistering 47% three-point shooting and a minuscule 1.1 turnovers per game. With his satisfactory athleticism and rapid release, UK frequently runs Lamb around screeners, relying on his accurate shooting for points on a number of set plays. Non-existent as a rebounder; his 13 points every night were second highest on the most loaded NCAA team in recent memory. Although not suitable as a point guard in the NBA, he spelled Marquis Teague this year and performed respectably, thanks to ambidextrous dribbling and above average speed. These skills prove useful towards generating mid-range looks, although a lack of explosiveness and strength impedes his finishing; his two-point field goal percentage ranked him 13th of 18 shooting guards in the draftexpress 2012 database. Needing to bulk up also proves as a limitation on defense, where he struggles through screens & picks, despite engaging whole-heartedly and displaying solid fundamentals.
Game recaps: In UK’s Final Four victory over Louisville; Lamb posted 10 points on 51% true shooting with only one rebound and one assist. This game is a poor snapshot of Lamb’s typical performance; his 4 turnovers were a season high and his zero makes-from-deep represent one of only five such outings this year. Six of his points came in transition, where he utilized speed and body control to beat the field and convert. U of L uses full-court presses often, and Lamb exhibited good ability to break the press using both hands, showing controlled ball-handling at full speed. Definitely not a point guard though, his turnover total accumulated due to picking up his dribble, getting trapped, and tossing passes to Cardinals defenders. Active on defense with his feet and hands, he works hard to stay in front of his man, although his slim frame causes difficulties following his man through an opponent’s gauntlet of big men.
Against Baylor in the Elite Eight, Lamb tallied 14 points on 57% true shooting, largely buoyed by twelve trips to the charity stripe. Four of the free throws came during close-out time, but Lamb drew several fouls running off screens or putting the ball on the floor. Functioning as the Wildcats starting shooting-guard and back-up point guard, he again flashed high-pace controlled dribbling with both hands as the opponent pressed regularly. He is definitely a shoot-first player, with only 1.5 assists per game, but on this night, he finished a slithery baseline drive with a wrap-around pass to Terrence Jones for a dunk. Also, he forfeited a transition gimme to throw an alley-oop to trailing Anthony Davis…wait, that ended in a turnover – he should have taken the free two points. Anyways…on defense, the tale is similar to the Louisville game. He maintains routine focus and solid fundamentals, but Baylor’s Center rocked Lamb on a few picks. If he packs on 20 pound of muscle by age 23 or 24, that would be a large benefit defensively.
Summary: Despite the relatively lackluster efforts described above; Lamb finished the season strong, averaging 15.3 points on 65% true shooting through the SEC and NCAA tournaments. An exciting draft day scenario involves pairing Kyrie with Doron Lamb and both players’ former teammate: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Two elite shooters, one athletic beast, three high-character guys all committed to winning; that’s a backcourt a team can build around (please go well, lottery. pretty, pretty please).
I’m not sure who to compare Lamb to…he’s not a three-and-D wing, due to no lock-down defense. Not a limited three point spot-up guy, because there’s some athleticism and ball-handling. He’s not Ray Allen or Steph Curry. Anyways, I’m sure in two or three years, he will be useful in the NBA for 25 minutes every night.