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?



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

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