In a draft light on elite, pure-off guard options, UConn's Jeremy Lamb may well be the second such player off the board, after Florida's Bradley Beal and possibly one of only 4 in the entire first round, along with Duke's Austin Rivers and Syracuse's Dion Waiters. While it's entirely unclear at this point if New Orleans would consider drafting him to play behind Eric Gordon, he may well be a top-10 talent.
Bio: Born in Norcross Georgia in May 1992, Lamb was raised in the city, attended Norcross High School, and led his team to the regional championship and a 27-3 record during his senior year. Jim Calhoun, drawing a comparison between Lamb and his former Connecticut player Rip Hamilton, recruited Lamb heavily.
As a freshman, Lamb started for UConn in the backcourt, alongside current Charlotte Bobcat Kemba Walker. Though his raw stats were somewhat muted, he proved more than capable from an efficiency perspective. During the 2011 NCAA tournament, he connected on 11 of 15 three point attempts, the highest mark in tournament history. Over the ensuing summer, Lamb played for the 2011 FIBA U19 US team, becoming the only American selected to the All-Tournament team (Rivers played for the team as well). Lamb went on to again reprise his starting role during his sophomore year despite a crowded backcourt, but UConn crashed out of the 2012 NCAA tournament in the first round after finishing their Big East schedule well under par, despite the presence of both Lamb and Andre Drummond.
Stats: As noted on Friday, Lamb had a statistically impressive rookie campaign at UConn, registering a PER of 20.3, pace-adjusted WS of 8.2 through the course of the year, and a highly efficient 1.17 points per possession.
As a sophomore, Lamb's role in the offense was increased/ He went from using 9.5 possessions a game to 14.6, but his overall efficiency actually increased from 1.17 to 1.21. Lamb hasn't been an overly impressive three point shooter (34% a year ago) or foul drawer (3.8 FTA/40 min), so his efficiency is particularly unique. It derives primarily from his absurd 60%+ rate of conversion on two point shots. Lamb projects to be a strong shooter at the next level, having connected on 81% of his free throws a year ago.
Statistically, all the indicators of a effective scoring bench option are there, with the potential for more.
Overall: Austin Rivers and Dion Waiters have been soaking up much of the off-guard buzz in the lead-up to the draft, but Lamb certainly deserves his fair share. He's young (20 years old and only a couple months older than Rivers despite having an additional year of college experience), he's ludicrously long, lanky, and mobile (6'11" wingspan accompanying his 6'5" height alo9ng with 4.6% body fat and a 38 inch maximum vertical), and he's flashed great ability at the collegiate level.
Lamb will be looked at closely by, at the very least, Toronto at #8, and if New Orleans is serious about selecting a scoring sixth-man that doubles as Eric Gordon insurance, Lamb certainly projects as the better selection over Austin Rivers.