School: Penn State
Height/Weight: 6’8, 230 lbs.
Lamar Stevens is built like a linebacker and plays like it too. He loves to drop his shoulder to get to the rim or any separation from the defender. Most of his assists come from drawing that help defense after getting close to the bucket.
That strength gives him an advantage defensively as well. He is almost impossible to back down in the post…seriously. We’ve seen Jalen Smith (from Maryland) and other star bigs in college basketball quickly quit trying to back down Lamar Stevens after realizing they weren’t gaining any space.
Lamar is someone who can truly assist in a transition offensive team where they are looking for players to run the floor, finish, and then get back on defense. Stevens, throughout his collegiate career, has proved that he can get the ball and go in transition and convert tough buckets at the rim.
To go along with the transition ability is his fantastic instincts on the boards. He has long arms, is strong, and has some good hops.
Lamar has been a pretty consistent free throw shooter during his time at Penn State. They aren’t exceptional numbers, but serviceable for someone of his size. With the free throw shooting comes a solid release on his jump shot. It looks the prettiest when he is in the post and going to his fade.
Consistency is the main weakness to discuss with Lamar Stevens. In his freshman year, Stevens shot above 34% from deep (on limited shots), but has been hovering well below 30% these last two years.
Another issue with Lamar Stevens’s game is his lack of awareness at all times. During most possessions, he is locked in defensively and locking down all players thrown at him, but that isn’t always the same. Sometimes he’ll start ball watching or won’t box out and will rely on his physical tools. That won’t transition for him well at the next level. He’s got to work on boxing out every single possession and being locked in for all 40 minutes.
Lamar also has an issue of forcing up bad shots. Not often will he take a contested three (he usually only takes them when he’s open), but often we’ll see him take a shot too early in the shot clock or just a tough fade instead of just taking it straight to the rack.
Let’s expand on that last notion because that is by far and away the most frustrating part of Lamar’s game. He needs to be more aggressive! He’s bigger and stronger than most players on the floor at all times yet he just doesn’t use his tools nearly enough to get to the basket to try to get a bucket. When he does attack, he’ll use his size, but he just settles too much.
There are certainly frustrating parts of Lamar Stevens’s game, but there are still so many promising aspects. His strength, experience, and two-way potential are going to earn him heavy consideration in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Lamar Stevens will get an invite to PIT to show out. I’m not sure if he’ll accept, but at the very least he will get options in the Draft process to prove to teams what he can do. NBA teams will need to see him hitting plenty of shots from behind the arc if he’s going to earn a 2nd round draft pick this year.