In a ranging interview with our Matt Ellentuck that went out this week, former Maryland small forward Jake Layman said he wanted to be an NBA player like Bruce Bowen on defense and Gordon Hayward on offense.
Bowen, the former San Antonio stopper, and Hayward, the present-day Utah scorer, are good models to which Layman can aspire.
The NBA Draft is Thursday night, and Layman seems likely to be a second-round pick. That suggests league executives don’t quite view Layman as either a Bowen or a Hayward, at least not yet.
But Layman is talented, and he put together a quality college career after showing up at Maryland as a four-star recruit in 2012. It’s not like he’s some NBA long shot.
His career numbers at Maryland: 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, on 36 percent three-point shooting and 53 percent overall. Those numbers generally got better with time. Now the goal is to make them work in the NBA. Here’s a scouting report:
Height without shoes: 6’8
Weight: 208.6 pounds
Body fat: 7.1 percent
The best thing about Layman’s game is his versatility. He can guard college players from point guard to power forward without breaking an apparent sweat, and he can credibly play as either forward or a small-ball center in offensive sets.
Layman is a solid shooter, if not a lights-out one. His career 36 percent mark from beyond the arc at Maryland was fine, but his shooting trended upward as his career went on. In particular, it jumped in his senior year, when he posted a 60 percent effective shooting rate. (It had been sub-50 percent in his first two years, then started to creep up when Layman was a junior.)
Everyone says very good things about Layman’s work ethic and character, and those should be plus marks with the NBA. He worked hard to transform his body, transition from basically a twig as a freshman to a toned, agile senior.
The flip side of the "versatility" card is the "tweener" card. NBA teams have plenty of options at every position, because they can pay players and sign them as free agents to fill roster vacancies, or they can make trades. The wide-ranging services Layman provided for the Terps might not be needed on many rosters, and executives might not be sure whether he’s more of a three or a four.
Layman probably gets drafted on Thursday, and he starts the hard work of sticking on an NBA roster as a do-everything forward.
Who’s a decent NBA comparison?
So much Chandler Parsons in Jake Layman.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 21, 2014