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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Lamar Stevens

Great in transition, and versatile in a position less league. Can Lamar Stevens fit in Memphis?

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Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Lamar Stevens - Senior, Forward, Penn State University

  • 2019-20 Season Stats: 17.6 points per game, 42.3 percent from the field, 6.9 rebounds per game, 26.3 percent from three, and 2.2 assists a game.
  • ADVANCED STATS STRENGTHS:

Offensive Box Plus/Minus (2.3), Box Plus/Minus (4.1), and Defensive Box Plus/Minus (1.8).

  • ADVANCED STATS WEAKNESSES:

Three-Point Attempt Rate (.169), Player Efficiency Rating (21.5), Defensive Rating (94.2).

  • BIG BOARD RANKINGS:

ESPN (83rd), and isn’t included on many draft boards (projected to go undrafted).

  • ACCOLADES:

2017-18 NIT Most Valuable Player, 2018-19 All-Big Ten First Team, 2019-20 All-Big Ten First Team, 2019-20 Wooden Award - Preseason, Mid-Season, and Late Season

2019-20 Season Highlights:

I want you to close your eyes, and think about the last time Penn State produced a solid NBA talent. Notably known for their College Football success, the Penn State Nittany Lions had a solid 2019-20 season, thanks in part to senior Lamar Stevens, whom enters the upcoming NBA Draft.

Lamar Stevens, a senior out of Penn State enters the 2020 NBA Draft being a player that could fall through the cracks if not landing in the right situation. The 6’8” hybrid Forward out of the BIG TEN will be looking at a late second round selection, or a shot at not being drafted at all.

What he does well:

Standing at 6’8”, Stevens prides himself on being a hybrid big man that can play positions three through the five given certain situations throughout games. His speed in transition last season, along with his IQ when running the break, are a huge strength as he is a solid finisher around the rim.

Another strength for Stevens is that he can handle the ball really well. Not shooting the ball effective, having a quick first step at 6’8” is beneficial along with solid handles for a bigger wing. A lot of his finishes at the rim at Penn State came from off the dribble moves to get around defenders.

Another thing that Stevens does well is rebound the ball. I noticed when watching the film on Stevens that he knows how to box out well, and get in good position to grab rebounds. In his four seasons at Penn State, Stevens averaged 6.5 rebounds and 7.7 in his junior season. Stevens is the definition of versatile.

What he can improve on:

His three point shooting is bad. Not just average. Bad.

Stevens’ three point attempts went up each season at Penn State, but the problem with that, is that he didn’t even average one three pointer a game, while averaging right at three attempts a game from deep. 26% is alarming, but that is something that can obviously get better with time.

There was a lack of growth from freshman year to senior year. When evaluating a senior, and taking a risk on someone like Stevens you look at his statistics to see where he progressed at in college and overall. His deep ball, along with his overall arsenal as a 6’8” wing is nothing to be too excited about. His points per game rose, but while that rose, FG% hovered around 40 percent and his free throw percent age right at 70%.

While he is versatile in terms of his size, entering the draft at small forward and not showing the ability to stretch the floor hurts his stock a ton. Stevens is a project, so if you take Stevens, you have to bet on his upside, and likely a full season in the G-League.

The fit and verdict:

The fit and verdict with Lamar Stevens in the NBA are almost not possible on day one. A spot in the G-League is likely for Stevens, and if he progresses and performs well, a call up would take place to the NBA.

Overall, Stevens at the age of 24 is still such a raw talent, and sometimes that is a bad thing. At 6’8” it just feels like Stevens has been asked to do so much at Penn State in terms of rebounding and pushing tempo that he will fit in the G-League, but again the question rises - what is Stevens position? Where does he fit consistently?

It doesn’t seem like Memphis, nor the other teams in the top half of the draft will take a chance on Stevens, which makes him a cheap signing post draft. For Memphis? To put in Southaven with the Memphis Hustle? Absolutely. To use the 40th pick on? It would be a waste of a pick because it is likely you can snag Stevens post draft.

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