LEXINGTON KY - DECEMBER 28: Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during the game against the Coppin State Eagles at Rupp Arena on December 28 2010 in Lexington Kentucky. Kentucky won 91-61. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Hello from a Toronto-bound Greyhound bus near Syracuse, NY! The draft grows nearer and nearer, ever more exciting and thrilling as the rumors of trades and who's interested in whom and yada yada yada heat up. Last time, I took a look at the final two prospects seen to be in the realm of probability at No. or thereabouts. Now I shift my focus to the first pick of the second round. The rankings here are even more in upheaval than early in the first round, so I've gone to the Bobcats excellent 'Mocking the Draft' tool that compiles a group of NBA draft sites for the sake of comparing and to see what the consensus is. Doron Lamb is the consensus 31st pick based on this, so I'll start with him.
Lamb's another one of the 39,277,019 players coming to the draft out of Kentucky this year. Though not an athlete that will have you trying to gather your tongue back inside your gaping maw, Lamb is quick and ok NBA size (6'5" in shoes or whatever measurement you like to use for NBA players, I don't even know what people use anymore) for a shooting guard. He was one of the best shooters in college basketball this past season, knocking down 46.6 percent of his threes. He also did a fair amount of running the halfcourt, showing good work in the pick and roll not just as a scorer. But he has trouble scoring in the paint because of the lack of athleticism and size.
But if you want to talk three-point gunners, let's talk John Jenkins. The Vanderbilt SG heaved nearly 9 three-point attempts per game, making roughly 44 percent. His scoring average was a hair under 20 points per game and made 54.2 percent of his two-pointers. He's great off the ball and got most of his looks running off screens and shooting after a dribble or two. With his shot and solid movement without the ball, it's not hard to imagine those skills transferring to the next level.
Out of Memphis, Will Barton brings to the table some versatility to play the two guard or a slightly undersized three, if necessary. He's thin and fairly athletic and can drive but has issues with his range (though it is improving: 26.5% in '10-'11 to 34.6% this year). His ability to drive and use his length has led to good ability to draw fouls. Defensively, he's active and with his agility and length, could bother opponents in the NBA. But his thin frame could be a problem for the more physical wings.
Sporting great athletic gifts and defensive intensity to go with improving range, Taylor helped bring Vanderbilt to their first SEC Tournament championship since Harry Truman was President. He's athletic with 40" vert springs, quickness and size to play SF in the NBA. Taylor's efficient, capitalizing on his beating his man with quickness and a step or two at the rim and especially in transition, where his jumping ability is scary. His range is solid and has good form, though his issues on the free throw line are confounding, considering he can hit from downtown at 42.3 percent, but barely 60 percent from the charity stripe.
I know the Bobcats haven't had much luck with French prospect as of late (see: Diaw, Boris and Ajinca, Alexis) but here comes another feller from the land of France. Fournier plays in a pro league there and is currently coming off a strong season there, scoring 14 points per game as a 19-year-old. He's upped his three shooting, though still a yucky 27.7 percent, and has also improved at drawing fouls. But he's just not an efficient shooter. Shot selection becomes a problem and his jumper falls apart. That said, he has good size for a small forward and can drive and finish at the rim.