Lamb came into last season as one of the more hyped prospects for the upcoming draft. As a Freshman, Jeremy started to come into his own as the secondary scorer to Kemba Walker. He flashed a strong mid range game by working the floor to get to his spot and using step-back jumpers off the dribble.
Coming into his Sophomore Year, Lamb was being hailed as a top five draft pick with expectations of stepping up and becoming the next UCONN star. He didn't become a star. While he showed the ability to take players off the dribble in isolation and finish in a variety of ways, he also settled too much for the step-back jumper.
He played for a talented, but dysfunctional Connecticut team this year. I don’t think he was the cause of the dysfunction which appeared to be caused by mismatched pieces. The team had no real identity nor point guards to play the Kemba Walker role.
While not explosive in terms of a prime Kobe, Jordan, Wade, etc… he is no slouch. He possesses a very smooth and rangy type of game to go along with elite length for a shooting guard. He runs the court well, has above average lateral quickness, and can guard multiple positions. He has decent vertical and is a solid athlete overall.
While still somewhat too skinny right now, Jeremy possesses amazing length for a shooting guard. He can play on either side and will be one of the lengthier shooting guards in the NBA, if not the lengthiest besides Paul George. I think he could cause problems for many opposing shooting guards if he lives up to the potential.
He'll need to add weight and strength to his frame to consistently play against the bigger two guards in the league, but it's something most players in the draft typically need to do.
There are no reported off the court issues as he seems to be a steady citizen.
Basketball IQ and want it factor
Jeremy would shoot ill-advised shots last year, and it seemed like he was trying to prove his worth. During his freshman year, he showed the ability to understanding spacing and where to be while he struggled with that more in his sophomore year. Defensively, he knows where to shade defenders, anticipates passing lanes, and has a freakishly long wing-span to recover when beat. He must play stronger going through picks.
He's a little laid-back personality wise, but has made big shots in the clutch. However, he'll settle for jumpers at times and not always show maximum fight for every ball. Will he consistently produce or have some consistent disappearing acts? The good news is that he is supposedly a gym rat; a requirement for the Bulls.
Jeremy possesses all the skills I like in a shooting guard prospect. Offensively, he's a good mid-range shooter and better from long range than his 33% would make it appear. His three point percentage dipped due the high volume of step back threes he took. While not a great isolation player, he showed considerable improvement in this department, and I can see him evolving more at the next level.
Once he penetrates to mid-range, he has a variety of ways to get his shot off such as the floater, up-and-under, finger-roll, mid-range jumper, etc. He also runs the floor well and makes the proper passes when in the right system.
One, I think once he gains more strength that he'll add a post up step-back jumper and likely improve his finishing at the rim.
Defensively, Lamb should excel in the NBA especially as he adds the strength to fight through screens. He shows great defensive anticipation and strong fundamentals in picking angles to funnel his opponent to difficult positions on the floor. He reads passing lanes well and can become a disruptive force at the next level defensively.
Overall, I am very excited about the prospects of Jeremy as a player. I think he is one of the better two-way players in this draft, if not the best. I keep going back and forth between him and Beal as to which is the better shooting guard prospect. However, I feel while Jeremy is the better defensive player, he must improve consistency to maximize his potential.
He is very good at many aspects, but still must master a few offensive moves. Since he is a gym rat, I feel confident he will reach his status as a low # 2/high number # 3 scorer type player in a couple of years after adjusting to the NBA.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
I think he fits very well with the Bulls, but he won’t be here at pick 29. His game reminds me a little bit of a Rip Hamilton (not quite as good during his glory days, but not nearly on the decline like now). What made Rip so special during his glory days besides his mid-range game and understanding of the game, was his will. I don’t know if I see that in Jeremy. Jeremy is cool under the pressure, but does he want it?
I think the Bulls need to make a shake-up and if there is a way to trade up to get either him, Lilliard, or Leonard, I would be willing to see what I can do to package up to get him. While I don’t think he is a true number two type scorer, I do think he is a legit, high, number three type scorer, or maybe even a very low number two type scorer.
Coincidentally, he has many questions marks like fellow alumni such as Rudy Gay and that is the type of ceiling I expect him to reach in the NBA (I don’t mean similar games, but similar in that they are low 2/high 3 type scorers in different ways with laid-back demeanors). In fact, I think of Jeremy Lamb as a slightly more aggressive Paul George with better ball-handling and more natural scoring instincts (not quite as athletic).
I feel that while many might complain that we have many number 3 type scorers, our number 3 type scorers are number 3 type scorers that depend on others to create for them and cannot consistently do so by themselves. On championship caliber teams, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer are number 4 type scorers. Jeremy Lamb has the ability to create a little and can play defense.
Lamb might fit best depending on the rest of the Bulls off-season plans. If you add him to Derrick and expect him to be the true number two scorer, then I don’t like giving up Luol Deng to move up. If you add someone that can create a little over the summer, then I very much like Jeremy as a number three type player.
However, I doubt the Bulls make such a move, but playing too safe will lead them to just being good instead of possibly being great (which is my biggest beef with the front office); they over-value their players and don’t sell when player value is high.
My opinion is that Jeremy Lamb is a top seven type talent in this draft despite that he will probably be drafted anywhere from pick 10 to late lottery. He has a very high basketball IQ, a smooth shot, can create a little (not a lot, but a little), and should be a very good defensive shooting guard.
The only players for sure that I would take over him are Anthony Davis, Brad Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrest, Thomas Robinson, and I would contemplate with Meyers Leonard and Damian Lillard. Out of all them mentioned, I would think the only for sure better players right now are Anthony Davis, Brad Beal, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrest. I feel more confident in Jeremy Lamb producing than I would, say a Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Jared Sullinger, or a Terrence Jones whom are frequently mentioned to be picked above him.
With the way the Bulls are set up for next year, I would very much be open to trading up and aiming for a player such as Jeremy Lamb. What would it take to move up to get him? In my opinion, in order to get Jeremy Lamb, you would have to trade Luol Deng to get in the range of picks 7-14.
While this would propose a significant risk, I just don’t see the Bulls going very far with Luol this year (with Derrick recovering and taking a while to get back to 100%), and the Bulls will all be a year older by time Derrick gets back to 100% shape. Luol also, while a very good player, is not going to be worth his salary for the next two years considering what we will be paying Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.
Jeremy has the ability to provide a more natural scoring option than Luol while becoming just as solid defensively. Teams such as the Hornets/Blazers that have multiple picks and needing a good veteran prime player such as Luol might be good options. All this factoring that Jeremy might not pan out, but where we are at now, I would take that risk (unless we are getting a superstar and Luol needs to be involved), considering the Bulls need to get rid of some money and rebuild.