There are plenty of knocks on former UConn shooting guard Jeremy Lamb.
At 179 pounds most say he’s too thin. Some say he disappears in games. Others think his shy and reserved personality is partially to blame for UConn’s disjointed season a year ago.
But for all the criticisms and shortcomings, there’s one thing Lamb can do: put the ball in the bucket.
“One thing Jeremy can do, he can step into a game tonight for example in the Celtics game and he can make baskets. If Rondo split and kicked out to him he could make baskets,” UConn head coach Jim Calhoun said a couple weeks back when the Celtics were still in the playoffs. “There’s no doubt in my opinion that he’ll be a double-figure scorer in the NBA. He’ll score points. He can light it up.”
That’s exactly what Lamb did in two seasons at UConn after leaving high school as an unheralded recruit. He exploded during the Huskies’ NCAA Tournament run two seasons ago as he shot 68 percent from the field during that stretch.
Lamb considered leaving UConn to enter the 2011 Draft, where he would have been a surefire lottery pick. The 6-foot-5 guard opted to stay at UConn for one more year to develop his game, and while he upped his scoring average to 17.7 points per game, the Huskies fell well short of expectations and lost to Iowa State in the first round of the tournament.
“He had a good season, not a great season and he’s the first to admit it,” Calhoun said of Lamb. “We went from the absolute heights of having an 11-game win streak, won 33, won a national championship, then coming back and trying to duplicate that. We didn’t really have the kind of flow, chemistry, whatever the word is. They’re good kids, they got along, but it just wasn’t the type of season that Jeremy would have liked to have.”
Regardless of the down year, Lamb is still a lock to be selected in the lottery — ESPN has him at No. 11 and DraftExpress has him at No. 8. While he was inconsistent at times last season, he continued to show why NBA scouts fell in love with him two seasons ago.
His length (6-foot-11 wingspan), athleticism, and deep range make him an intriguing prospect at the next level, a prospect that fits Phoenix’s needs quite well. The Suns are looking for a wing that can shoot it, create his own shot, and defend. Lamb is still working on his isolation game, but there’s no question he can score in bunches and light it up from beyond NBA 3-point range.
“I’ve seen Ben Gordon. I’ve seen Ray Allen. I’ve seen Richard Hamilton,” Calhoun said. “I’ve seen the guys who can really put the ball in the hole and he has the most length of any of them, and by length I mean he can shoot it from distance, true distance, like 25 feet comfortably.”
It’s no secret Phoenix could use that scoring punch, and if Lamb were to fall to No. 13 it would be tough for the Suns not to pounce. Although Lamb is a project in terms of his build and isolation game, he has a great offensive feel, is a smooth operator and can put the ball in the hole, which the Suns need in the worst way.