2011 Scouting Report: Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lamb returns as the leading scorer for the Huskies, as he averaged 11.1 points per game last season. Although they lost Kemba Walker, they return the rest of their contributing players from their national championship team and add stud freshman Andre Drummond. Will Lamb step into a primary scoring role or will he continue to play a supporting role, this year to Drummond?
Scoring off screens
The primary way Lamb found his shot last season was by running off multiple screens from his teammates and getting open for a mid range jumper or close floater. He was tireless and relentless in running off these screens and would often run his defender off of 3 or more screens before finally getting free. Once he makes the catch off the screen, he can catch and shoot or he can take a dribble or two to further separate him from his defender and score.
One of the main questions Lamb must face this season is his role on the offense. Will he continue to run off screens, as shown above or will he be required to have the ball in his hand more and create off the dribble? He doesn’t fare as well when he tries to create without the help of a screen but he is really hard to defend when he uses screens. I expect him to continue in this type of offensive role where he runs off multiple screens to get the ball in space but the question remains whether he will be comfortable being UConn’s primary scorer or if someone else will step into that role.
Length on defense
Lamb has freakish length and uses this to his advantage on defense. He leverages his length by playing the passing lanes on the perimeter and getting easy steals by reaching lazy passes that the opposition did not think he would be able to reach. His steal rate was only 1.86% last season, 54th in the Big East, as he does not get steals elsewhere. While he does not get many steals in total, he is great on getting these steals on the perimeter which can lead to easy transition buckets (see the last two clips of the below video).
A second way Lamb uses this length is to bother shooters by challenging shots. You can see examples of this at the beginning of the following video as he uses his length to close out on open shooters and use his length to challenge the shot. Lamb does not show proper closeout technique, as he often leaves his feet when challenging a jump shot which leaves him vulnerable for a ball fake and I am not sure all the credit for these missed shots can be given to the length of Lamb but you get the idea of what he can do with his length.
Areas of Improvement
Tendency to avoid contact
One of the main ways Lamb needs to improve his game is by learning to take contact instead of avoiding it, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. His 15.8% FTR shows how he avoids contact on the offensive end, as he does not get to the free throw line very often. On the defensive side, his 2.3 fouls committed per game demonstrates his tendency to avoid contact. Although his lack of fouls allows him to stay out of foul trouble and on the floor, I don’t think you can play tough defense without committing a few fouls along the way.
Watch him in the following clips. In the first clip, his responsibility is to step in front of Josh Harrelson and take away the roll. He looks hesitant to take on the big man and looks more interested in preventing a pass to his man. Also watch his refusal to compete on the defensive glass. With his athleticism and length, he should be an average rebounder at worst, yet his defensive rebounding rate was only 12.3% last season. This is because he refuses to mix it up on the glass with the big men and is content to watch from the outside.With UConn’s big men, he might get away with it for now but NBA scouts will not like it.
As we saw with fellow freshman Terrence Ross, help defense can be difficult to adapt to for freshmen. There are a couple of ways Lamb hurts his team on defense by not helping properly. First, he doesn’t always rotate properly to help a teammate or locate the ball when he is playing help defense. This is common for a freshman and will become more of a concern if he still struggles with this during this season.
The second deficiency Lamb exhibits on defense ties into his first area of improvement which was his tendency to avoid contact. When he is one defender away, he is often in good position to help on a drive. However, instead of moving his feet to get in front of the penetrating player, he reaches in while the ball goes by him.
This shows another way Lamb avoids contact on the floor. He should move his feet to cut the defender off and try to draw a charge but he lazily reaches in and doesn’t provide much help to his teammate. Look at this drive by Brandon Knight. Lamb should make the effort to slide one more step over and get in front of Knight. He chooses to reach in instead and this allows Knight to get to the rim.