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Efficient Lamb an offensive mainstay for UK

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Doron Lamb leads UK in scoring with 14.9 points per game. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Doron Lamb leads UK in scoring with 14.9 points per game. (Chet White, UK Athletics)

Lay-ups off drives to the hoop, pull-up jumpers, floaters, fall-aways and 3-pointers: you name a way to score a basketball and Doron Lamb can probably do it.

The guard has used every weapon in his arsenal in 2011-12 in becoming the most consistent offensive threat for the nation's third-ranked team. He has scored in double figures in a team-high seven of the Wildcats' nine games and is the only player on the roster to score at least eight points in each. He leads a balanced scoring attack with 14.9 points per game and is the team's leading shooter from 3-point range and the free throw line.

As a freshman, Lamb was one of the nation's most efficient offensive players, ranking 59th in the country according to However, he's taken his game to another level, improving his offensive rating from 121.2 to 129.4.

NOTE: Offensive rating evaluates how many points per 100 possessions a team scores when the ball is in the hands of that player. It takes into account 2- and 3-point field goals made and missed, free throws, assists and turnovers.

So, how has Lamb done it? First, let's take a look at his traditional offensive stats.

  Points/g Assists/g FG% 3P% 2P% FT% TO/g
Sophomore 14.9 2.6 45.7 51.4 42.1 82.1 1.0
Freshman 12.3 1.6 49.7 48.6 50.5 79.0 1.3

As you can see, Lamb has improved noticeably in terms of overall scoring and assists. His 3-point percentage is up slightly, as well as his free-throw percentage. His turnovers are down as well, but he already gave the ball away so infrequently it doesn't mark a substantial difference.

On the other hand, Lamb's field-goal percentage has taken a four-percent dip thanks to a pretty sizable drop in his 2-point shooting. You would think his improvement in other areas wouldn't be enough to overcome his diminished accuracy from the field, but these numbers fail to tell the complete story so we turn to his advanced stats.

  Offensive Rating %Min %Poss %Shots eFG% Assist rate TO Rate FT Rate
Sophomore 129.4 77.5 19.5 21.9 55.4 13.8 9.2 42.4
Freshman 121.2 70.7 19.1 21.0 60.2 11.3 14.5 30.9

Lamb's effective field-goal percentage (eFG%, which measures overall field goal percentage while considering the additional value of the 3-point shot), reflects his dip in accuracy from the field. As you can see, though, he is better in every other area. His usage rates (%Poss) is up slightly, meaning he has the ball in hands more. Additionally, he is playing more minutes than last year. Those two factors make it even more impressive that he is turning the ball over just once per game this year. As a result, his turnover rate is down five percent. Lamb's assist rate is also up, but where Lamb's game has really improved this season is the way he gets to the foul line.

Compared with last year, Lamb gets to the foul line nearly 12 percent more in 2011-12. He is much more aggressive in taking the ball to the basket, which helps explain his lower shooting percentage from inside the arc. Instead of taking only open opportunities, Lamb is being relied on more to create his own shot, which has made his shots from 2-point range more difficult.

His improved willingness and ability to attack the basket has helped make him a much more dangerous and consistent player. As a freshman, Lamb failed to reach double figures in scoring 18 times in 39 games and when his shot wasn't falling, his impact was minimal. Now, Lamb has the ability to overcome those off nights by getting to the line. This season, he's gotten to the line at least seven times in four outings. Last season, he attempted at least seven free throws just three times.

Take the game against Portland on Nov. 26 for example. Lamb made just 1-of-6 shots from the field and missed both of his shots from deep. However, he made all seven of his free throws and still managed a solid nine-point outing. Also, with his improvement as a passer, he added four assists and still managed to affect the game.


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