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2020 Hornets prospect scouting report: Anthony Lamb

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The senior forward out of Vermont was a massively productive college player that could be available late-second round

Syndication: Burlington BRIAN JENKINS/for the Free Press

Anthony Lamb was one of the basketball players in the country over his four seasons with the Vermont Catamounts. Lamb ranks seventh all-time in total rebounds, fifth in points and blocks, third in made field goals and is the record-holder for box plus-minus at 6.7 for a program with a rich basketball history, signifying that his level of play was usually well above that of his peers.

Having seen Lamb play in-person myself on a multitude of occasions, it’ll be fun to analyze his stats and look at him through the lens of a potential NBA prospect, rather than someone who plays for a team that I wanted my alma mater to beat (I wanted that very badly — Vermont is really good).

Measurements:

Height: 6’ 6”

Weight: 227 pounds

Wingspan: 6’ 11” (estimated)

Strengths: floor spacing, defensive versatility, rebounding

I got halfway through a paragraph about Lamb’s stat profile during his four years as a Catamount, but it’s easier to just screenshot his basketball-reference page for everyone to pore through because he did a lot:

Other than his sophomore season, where he suffered a broken foot, Lamb played in and started every game for Vermont. His senior year was also hindered by lingering hamstring injury, but he played through it and was still productive, though not very efficient. His career-true shooting percentage is 57.1 and it peaked at 60.6 as a junior, so his ability to be an efficient scorer is proven, it’s just a matter of whether he can do that as a low-usage role-player rather than the star of a team’s offense. That’s not an easy adjustment to make for guys who starred at smaller programs as they transition to the NBA.

The two things that stand out the most in Lamb’s stat line; three-point shooting and shot-blocking. In a recent interview with USA Today’s Bryan Kalbrosky, Lamb said that he thinks he “can do a lot of what PJ Tucker does” as an NBA player. While that’s in stark contrast to his role and playing style at Vermont, he has the skillset and body type for it. He’s a career-33.6 percent 3-point shooter on 5.3 attempts per-40 minutes (428 total attempts) and he shot 78.3 percent from the line on 535 total free-throw attempts. Needless to say, the sample size that shows Lamb is, at least, a respectable floor-spacer. Considering the difficulty of the shots he was often taking as the best player on the court during most of his games as a Catamount, it’s likely that he’s a bit more accurate from long-range than his percentages suggest.

Lamb is 6’ 6”, which is slightly “undersized” for a full-time forward or small-ball center, but his wingspan is around 6’ 11”, his reach is long, and he has well-distributed strength at 227 pounds. He played and defended a lot of different positions at Vermont, which gives him one less thing to adjust to in the NBA. At 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals per-40, Lamb has shown impressive rim protection (his timing and feel for making plays on defense is legit) for his size and has the ability to switch onto perimeter players and use his lateral quickness and length to stay in front of them.

Rebounding has significantly decreased in importance as an individual skill, but whoever drafts/signs Lamb is going to get 100% effort from him on the glass every possession. He boxes out, reads misses well, and has a reasonably-quick second jump.

Question marks: speed and quickness, scoring efficiency, playmaking

Lamb checks most of the eye-test boxes as a future NBA player, but athleticism is not one of them. That’s not to say he’s a slouch — he’s not — but he isn’t at the same level of speed or verticality that NBA players tend to be. He’s still strong and laterally quick enough to stay in front of the ball, but the NBA’s top-tier athletes will give him trouble at first.

As mentioned earlier in this scouting report, whether Lamb will be able to thrive as a low-usage spot-up shooter remains to be seen. He was essentially the Anthony Edwards or Cole Anthony of Vermont, where he was clearly the most-talented player on the team and his offensive output was the main determinant of their success. Some players need a high volume of attempts to get in rhythm, and technically we don’t have any evidence that supports Lamb not being one of those players during an illustrious career at Vermont. The only way to find out is to give him an opportunity.

Lamb’s lack of playmaking could be another product of him being an NBA-level talent in the America East conference, but in theory, if he could see the floor at an average level, he would’ve finished his career with more than 195 total assists. His assists per-40 average went from 1.3 over his first two seasons to 3.0 over his last two seasons, which is a marked improvement, but not enough to show that Lamb has added playmaking for teammates as a reliable aspect of his game.

Overview

After his stats went down across the board during an injury-hampered senior year, Lamb’s draft stock fell considerably. He was regarded as a near-lock for the late-second round prior to the 2019-2020 college season, but now it seems like there’s a slim chance he gets his name called on Nov. 18. It’s unfortunate, because he has great character and he’s worked his ass off to get where he is today, not to mention having a skillset that’s well-suited to the way the NBA is modernizing. Mitch Kupchak would hear no complaints from me if he were to take a shot on the former Vermont Catamount star with the 56th pick, but he might be available as an undrafted free agent. Even if it’s not with the Hornets, I’d be thrilled to see Lamb get a chance on an NBA roster. It’s always fun to see small-school guys make it in the big leagues. Remember that Curry guy from Davidson? I forget his name, but his father, Dell is an excellent broadcaster.