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NBA@2: Messina Leaving Lakers for CSKA
Posted By Eric Pincus On June 12, 2012 @ 2:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Messina Leaving Lakers
A source close to Los Angeles Lakers special assistant/consultant Ettore Messina says he will leave the franchise and the NBA to coach once again overseas.
Messina will re-join CSKA Moscow on a multi-year deal, which has yet to be announced.
Ettore joined Coach Mike Brown’s staff this past season to get a taste of the NBA. Messina is one of the most successful international coaches in history. He previously won two Euroleague titles with CSKA.
It was a difficult year for Messina, the Lakers and nearly every coaching staff in the league as they were forced to rush through the season with no real training camp or substantial time for regular practice. Brown and Messina had built a relationship through the years and Mike was the major proponent for adding Ettore to LA’s staff.
Ultimately Messina is a head coach and while he may eventually return as one to the NBA, he’ll join the CSKA club he left in 2009.
Lamb vs. Lamb
The 2012 NBA Draft features two 20-year old shooting guards with the last name Lamb. Both won NCAA championships – yet one is expected to be drafted in the lottery while the other is trying to climb into the first round.
Measuring in at 6’5.25″ at 179 pounds (with 4.5% body fat), Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb won the title in 2011 with star Kemba Walker.
Lamb was a force that year with Kemba but without Walker (now with he Charlotte Bobcats) he was less consistent and the team struggled, getting knocked out in the first round of the tournament.
Jeremy is a true athlete, with a 6’11″ wingspan and it’s that explosive potential that should land him in the top 14 this June.
Lamb averaged 17.7 points a game in his last year with UConn. While his three-point shooting was average (33.6%), Jeremy converted an impressive 60.1% of his shots from two-point range.
“There’s a lot of great shooting guards,” said Lamb at the Chicago NBA Draft Combine. “I wouldn’t say I’m the best but I think I can compete with anybody in the draft.”
Jeremy has worked out for the New Orleans Hornets (10). The Toronto Raptors (8) have looked at him as well.
“I think it’d be good. I’m not picky,” said Lamb on the Raptors. “I’m not saying I don’t want to go, not saying I want to go. I want to go to a good situation and wherever I go, make the best of it.”
No, it didn’t come off as a ringing endorsement for Toronto.
Lamb’s overall enthusiasm has come into question but he says that’s just his personality and doesn’t reflect his drive.
“My body demeanor and things like that sometimes it may look like I’m not [being competitive],” said Lamb.
Lamb also needs to improve his passing and shot selection. He’d be more of a two/three in the NBA than a combo guard, averaging 1.7 assists per game against 2.0 turnovers.
Reportedly his meeting with the Portland Trail Blazers (7 and 11) wasn’t especially successful.
Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com wrote, “He was known as a sharp-shooter, but wasn’t able to knock down his perimeter shot on a consistent level during drills.”
Will Lamb’s athleticism and potential trump questions in drive and maturity?
What does he need to do to overcome those doubts?
“Competitiveness, show them that I compete and I want to work hard,” said Lamb. “Times like this, these are times you try and go full speed and show you can shoot the ball, show you can dribble – but really show that I can compete.”
Doron won this year’s title with the Kentucky Wildcats. In the most important game of the season, the 6’4.75″, 199 pound guard led all scorers with 22 points to close out the championship.
Over six tournament games, Lamb averaged 16.5 points a game while shooting 55.2% from the field and 52.2% from three. During the regular season, he averaged 13.7 points per game on 47.4% shooting and 46.6% from three.
The best players elevate their game with the stakes and Lamb may be the best shooter in the draft.
Why then is he fighting to go in the top 30 while Jeremy may not drop past 10?
Doron may be more polished than Jeremy but he just doesn’t have that athletic upside.
With Doron, there’s no question of motor. He has a real chance to be a steady role-player in the NBA for many years.
“I’m a great shooter. I make shots,” said Lamb. “I can play the one and two, I can guard the one and two. I can make plays for teammates.”
In his second year with at Kentucky, Doron took on more play-making duties but he’s still developing as a combo guard. He dished just 1.5 assists per game against 1.1 turnovers but this is the area that he’s putting in the work to improve.
He says he’s already better than he was a year ago.
“Coach Cal got my point guard skills ready for the NBA,” said Lamb. “I’m ready for the NBA right now.’
From the team’s website, “Doron is our best basketball player. He’s not our fastest player; he doesn’t jump the highest and I don’t think he’s going to be our best ball handler. But as far as knowing the game and having a feel, he has it. If he’s in great condition and he has a sense of urgency, he will have a great year.” — Head coach John Calipari.
Doron has seen interest from multiple teams including the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers.
At his range in the draft, he’ll keep auditioning for teams.
“I just want to go out there and prove to NBA scouts that I can play the one and two,” said Lamb. “I can do more than shoot. I can come off the dribble and make shots, come off screens and make shots. I’m a winner, so I just want to show them I can win games.”
Doron said he probably got lost a bit in the shuffle last year given the star-power on the Wildcats.
“We had a lot of talent on our team, my last year in college. We had a great team,” said Lamb. “Everybody can’t get the same recognition as everybody else. We all had a great season and won the national championship and I’ll never forget that.”
The NBA Draft is often about potential and while Jeremy has a greater ceiling, especially athletically, Doron is the better outside shooter and a lower risk pick late in the first.
Based on the play this past season of the Los Angeles Clippers, Jeremy would be Nick Young . . . Doron would be Randy Foye.
If Jeremy can mature both physically and mentally, he has tremendous upside. Doron needs to prove he can hit shots and defend at the NBA level despite not being the most athletic guard in the class.
The NBA Draft is on June 28th.
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