Tenth Pick Tournament Round One: Jeremy Lamb vs. Terrence Ross

Published: June 9, 2012

Schwan and McNamara go head-to-head as we look at two of the most dynamic wings expected to be available at number ten

The Case for Terrence Ross

By Ryan Schwan

Ahhh.  A Lamb to the slaughter.  This one is easier than you’d think.  Take these two lines

Prospect Pts Reb Asts Stls Blks
Player A 16.4 6.4 1.4 1.3 0.9
Player B 17.7 4.9 1.7 1.2 0.6

Almost a wash, right? Player B has slightly more points and assists, player A has slightly more rebounds, steals and blocks. But what if I told you that player B earned those numbers in 20% more minutes per game? What if I normalized these two players and gave you per 40 minutes, and they looked like this:

Prospect Pts/40 Reb/40 Asts/40 Stls/40 Blks/40
Player A 21.1 8.3 1.8 1.6 1.2
Player B 19.1 5.2 1.8 1.3 0.7

Then I told you that player A shot better from three for the season, led his team to a 24-11 record, and took his team to the 4th round of his post-season tournament, losing in OT, while his opponent led his team to a 20-14 record and was bounced ignominiously in the first round?

Then I told you that player A is 6’6” and weighed 197 lbs with 3.2% body fat, while player B is 6’4” and weighed 179 with 4.5% body fat.

Lastly, I told you that player A was described defensively as “a real terror both on and off the ball” and “a superb defender in isolation”, “aggressive”, a “good team defender that puts in work on this end of the floor”, and “a very disruptive force”, while player B is described as “energy is . . . very inconsistent”, “did not display the competitiveness, fundamentals and attention to detail”, and “particularly bad off the ball”.  (Quotes from DraftExpress.com)

Which guy you going to take?

Right.  Player A.  Terrence Ross.

The Case for Jeremy Lamb

(By: Michael McNamara)

Ah, there is my opponent Ryan Schwan doing what Ryan Schwan does best. He throws a bunch of numbers out at you and then conveniently leaves out the parts that make his argument much weaker. See that part where he says, “Player A led his team to a 24-11 record, and took his team to the 4th round of his post-season tournament, losing in OT, while his opponent led his team to a 20-14 record and was bounced ignominiously in the first round?” Well, what he doesn’t say is that his guy lit it up in the NIT, despite the fact that he played in the weakest big conference in America, while my guy actually made the NCAA tournament and had to play all year in the strongest conference in the country.

What he also leaves out is the previous season; the one that saw Terrence Ross have a fairly pedestrian year for a fairly pedestrian team while Jeremy Lamb was the second most important player for a team that won the national championship. As Fran Frachilla said during the Draft Combine telecast, “No way UConn would have won the national championship without this guy last year.” So, Mr. Schwan, please do not bring up the postseason and try to claim that it is advantage: Ross. Nothing could be further from the truth.

My opponent also acts as if Ross destroys Lamb in the measurables, again by leaving out some key data. Yes, Ross is an inch and a half taller, but they have the exact same standing reach and Jeremy Lamb’s wingspan is 4 inches longer. Standing reach is important for big guys because they defend with their arms up, but it is all about wingspan on the perimeter, where you defend with your arms out. That additional 4 inches that Lamb brings to the table gives him the measurables edge in my book, and the numbers back me up. Spot up shooters shot just 30.9% against Lamb. When they try to put the ball on the floor, they shoot just 29% off the dribble, and they score just .68 points per possession against him in isolations. Elite.

These two guys are similar in production and measurables, as you can see by all the numbers we have laid out so far, but the thing that sets Lamb apart are:

1. The guys he got those buckets against

2. The way he got those buckets

As I said earlier, Jeremy Lamb was the second highest scorer in a real conference; the Big East. The Big East sent nine teams to the NCAA tournament this year, while the Pac Ten sent only two- an eleven seed and a twelve seed, who lost in the play-in game to a Big East team (USF). People who have fears about Damian Lillard question the level of competition he played against. Why aren’t we doing the same for Terrence Ross? Some mid-majors had as many or more bids than the Pac Ten, and Ross’s best games were against teams who made the NIT because they weren’t good enough to make the real 68 team tournament.

Secondly, and I believe most importantly, you have to look at the way a guy scores and project how that translates to the pros. I can put up the numbers of Jimmer Fredette in college and ooh you and ahh you the way Ryan tried to, but anybody who watched him knew that his game would not translate to the pros. You aren’t going to have the space in the NBA that you get in college and the lanes close up much faster when you take the ball to the hole. Jeremy Lamb’s offensive game is versatile, while Ross is too dependent on his long distance shooting.

Jeremy Lamb was #1 in this year’s shooting guard class when it came to 2-point FG% (60.1 %). He can come off of screens, scoring over 1.1 points per possession on plays of that nature. He can hit the mid range jumper, as evidenced by the fact that he shot an amazing 52% on his jumpers inside 15 feet, and he even hit 45% of his jumpers between 17 and 21 feet. Those are elite numbers from mid-range, an attribute that very few guys have in the NBA. His three-point percentage is average in comparison (35% over his two seasons), but it is much easier for a guy to extend his range in the NBA than it is for him to add a mid-range game. He also has an elite floater, a shot that made up nearly 10% of his attempts. He hit 61% of those floaters last year, showing that he is more than capable of taking that extra dribble or two should a defender go over the screens that he is coming off of.

His numbers coming off of screens are so impressive, that some say the comparison for him is Reggie Miller. Others see more of a Kevin Martin- a guy that we know Monty and Dell love. The question is whether or not Monty Williams could use a Kevin Martin (who also plays defense) on this team with Eric Gordon, and my answer is emphatically- YES! Whether it is Gordon at the point and Lamb at the two or Gordon at the two and Lamb at the three in this new small ball NBA, the length and versatility of both men’s games would compliment each other fantastically. Lamb plays exceptionally well without the ball and, like Gordon, has the quickness and wingspan to cover multiple positions.

Meanwhile, you look at Ross and there are just too many red flags to warrant any real consideration at number ten. Unlike Lamb, he is pretty one dimensional with regard to his offensive game. Two-thirds of his shots are jumpers and he is DEAD LAST in free throws per 40 minutes pace adjusted amongst all the shooting guards. I repeat- Dead. Last. He can stroke the three and get you points in transition because of his athleticism, but those are the first two things take away from you in the playoffs. Look at San Antonio, where their specialists Danny Green and Matt Bonner were pulled from the rotation because all they could do was hit the three. Remember when San Antonio just stayed in Peja’s jersey in the critical game seven and he had no counter for it? And perhaps the scariest thing- when Ross was asked who he compares himself to, his answer was…. “J.R. Smith!” Ugh.

In the playoffs, you need to have a versatile game and you have to get to the free throw line. Terrence Ross has neither attribute and will be a guy who puts up the a couple twenty point games during the regular season, only to be a no-show when it really matters. If we had a late first rounder, I would take a specialist like that without thinking twice, but not at number ten. And he is not a guy who is going to make others better when he is shut down, either as evidenced by the fact that he has the second fewest assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted in this year’s shooting guard class.

To sum it up, Jeremy Lamb played against real competition and excelled. Terrence Ross put up fairly good numbers for one season against bad teams. Jeremy Lamb scored in a variety of ways, a good indicator for future NBA success. Terrence Ross hit three’s, got some dunks, and never got to the free throw line. And Jeremy Lamb had elite defensive numbers, while Ross was average in nearly every measurable statistic.

The choice is clear. Did I leave anything out Mr. Schwan?




  1. Paul

    June 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Tough choice here, but Michael’s argument has me going with Lamb.

  2. aswemajor

    June 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I gotta pick Ross. He can play SG and SF which fills our needs at SF.

  3. Jordan J.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I will vote against Ross for the sole reason of him comparing himself to J.R. Smith. How distasteful…


    June 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I love Jeremy Lamb skills better than Ross, but J Lambs mental game is very weak. Coach Monty raised his voice at him in a practice session at the Alario Center and after that Lamb was mentally gone for the day!

  5. Mike P

    June 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I hate all of these arguments, because now I like every single prospect at 10. Glad I’m not a scout

  6. Hollis21

    June 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    This is a tough one. Ryan’s numbers are very pretty. But, Michael you have a great argument.

    Jeremy Lamb, and the whole UConn squad in general was a giant disappointment to me this season. Can’t imagine how it was being a fan of them. They had so much talent but people did not achieve. They lacked the mental fortitude to really reach their peak. Not to mention Napier thinking he can hit from anywhere (drove me insane watching him just chuck stupid shots) and not getting the ball to the real top guy in Lamb.

    I feel Lamb has to improve his mental game. But, I’m not blowing anybody away with that statement. We all know it. At times he just seems scared. However, I’ve heard he is shy. In a time where guys are more confident/cocky than ever. Someone that is shy or maybe even humble is often dismissed. We don’t talk about guys unless they talk about themselves. I feel Lamb would listen to a coach. I don’t see him as a guy who will talk back. Jeremy Lamb will never be a leader. However, we don’t need him to be a leader. Someone thinking he is going to be the franchise, is wrong. But. We don’t need him to be the franchise.

    I really hadn’t even watched Terrence Ross or heard of him until I downloaded an updated roster for College Hoops 2K8. My buddy lit me up with him and I looked him up because I had never heard of him. I decided to watch Washington’s run in the Pac-12 tourney to see what he had to offer. But. They got booted.

    I’m taking Jeremy Lamb here. I have a better sample size for him and think he can really grow if it is indeed shy/humble and not the fact the guy just isn’t mentally strong enough for the league.

  7. 504ever

    June 9, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    To me, playing at UCONN this season was the kiss of death. The team had elite talent and couldn’t do anything with it. Team chemistry was horrendous, even toxic, and the players never figured that out, let alone dealt with it. The is a tremendous black mark on all of the UCONN players. The last thing I want is a bad apple on a young Hornet team, especially one with AD, who might negatively influence AD or other younger players.

    Lamb? No Thanks

    • Mike P

      June 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

      I don’t think Lamb has a “toxic” attitude. That’s just my guess, but if you watch his interviews, he seems like a quiet sort of guy, and I doubt he instigated the unraveling of their team. Conversely, I also doubt he was ever really effective in stopping it, and he doesn’t exactly exhibit the confidence I want in a core player..

  8. CharmedHive

    June 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Honestly, I don’t think I’m that crazy about either, but I’ll go with Lamb, even with all the negative marks he’s getting. That’s only if it came down to either of these guys (please Dell and Monty, don’t let it be!!).

  9. mark

    June 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    you could have quoted the comparison from fullcourtpress on HR.com

  10. mark

    June 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    This sounds a lot like my comparison on HR.com

    Terrance Ross vs. Jeremy Lamb/ from a hornet’s perspective

    Their stats were similar

    Ross 16.4 ppg 6.4 reb 1.4 asts 1.3 stls .9 blks
    Lamb 17.7 ppg 4.9 reb 1.7 asts 1.2 stls .6 blks


    lamb played 6 more minutes a game than ross did, hence let’s look at it per 40

    ross 21.1 ppg 8.3 reb 1.8 asts 1.6 stls 1.2 blks
    lamb 19.1 ppg 5.2 reb 1.8 asts 1.3 stls .07 blks

    Advantage Ross

    Obviously, it appears like I am trying to justify my preference for Ross. I am.

    Teams may prefer lamb because of his abilities to create shots; but Monty doesn’t currently have the two qualities he wants in any of our wings (either the 2 or the 3)…..
    1. The being length/athleticism/attitude needed to being a suffocating defender who can play team defense
    2 a guy that can put it in the hole

    Aminu and Ariza aren’t the ideal shooters, and Ariza makes mullah
    xavier Henry isn’t a solid shooter either.
    Belli can put it in the hole and play team defense, but can’t hold his own individually’

    Gordon can do it all, but 1 he is better WITH the ball. he plays good D but his size/length prohibits him from guarding many premier players efficiently, AND his energy is most needed to carry the offense

    I think Ross would be ideal in a rotation at the 2 and 3.

    Plus, lamb has all the tools to be a great defender. But he isn’t nearly as good of one now.

    On Ross

    being a real terror both on and off the ball. Ross’ size and athleticism allow him to be a superb defender in isolation, and he’s combined those tools with the aggressiveness needed this season. He plays right up into his man and moves his feet well to stay in front, but his excellent recovery speed allows him to frequently extend himself and still get back in time, making him a very disruptive force.
    Ross shows similar ability defending his man off the ball, sticking with him all over the floor through screens and taking full advantage of his physical tools. He’s a good team defender and really puts in the work on this end of the floor overall, something that coaches will surely find attractive when they start evaluating prospects
    From DraftExpress.com http://www.draftexpress.com#ixzz1x0qnnxft

  11. Pingback: Tenth Pick Tournament Round Two: Austin Rivers vs. Terrence Ross | New Orleans Hornets | Hornets247.com

  12. Hoopswatch

    June 17, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I won’t touch on Lamb’s personality as I am not as familiar with him as Ross. Lamb looks like a consistent offensive player and ok as a defensive player. I have had the chance to meet and speak with Terrance. His humble character is disarming. He is thoughtful and very coachable. His confidence in his abilities is game sure. His desire to win trumps any personal goals. He is a lights out shooter and an athletic talent that reminds me of Gus Williams of NBA champions Warriors and Sonics. I want him on my team.

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