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2016 Houston Rockets Draft Prospect Series: Jake Layman

Mar 12, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) shoots the ball as Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) shoots the ball as Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
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The 2016 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday June 23rd with the Houston Rockets selecting 37th and 43rd overall. With that Space City Scoop is featuring a Draft Prospect Series covering 60 of the top ranked prospects. Next up is Jake Layman.

Coming into the 2015-2016 season the Maryland Terrapins were regarded by many as one of, if not, THE most talented team in the country. A line up that featured 5 potential NBA draft prospects in Melo Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon, Jake Layman, Diamond Stone and Robert Carter galvanized many pundits into crowning the Terrapins as number one on various pre-season top 25 rankings.

Somewhere in the plethora of talent went missing a key spice that’s required in every championship team’s recipe; chemistry. The lack of chemistry amongst Mark Turgeon’s adept lineup echoed loudly through the voice of a fat lady as expectations fell short ending their season to the Kansas Jayhawks in a Sweet Sixteen exit.

Not only did the chemistry issues squander the season, it also effected the draft stock of the Terrapins starting line up. Of the five, the prospect that experienced the most significant dip was none other than senior forward/part time abercrombie model; Jake Layman.

Current Rankings

ESPN Chad Ford: 48
Draft Express: 52

Strengths

Due to the arrival of ex Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon and talented big man Diamond Stone, Layman was forced to spend his senior season playing as a small forward. Layman’s natural position was as a stretch/play making four where he showed to be most effective. At the four position, Layman was able to use his speed to blow past opposing front court defenders off the dribble and can three’s when they backed off.

Layman’s niche as a NBA prospect are his physical tools as well as his capability to stretch the floor from deep.

He’s 6’9 with a max vertical of 39.5. Layman’s physical gifts allows him to finish above the rim which he has shown through out the course of his college career.

Where he really excels is in the open court and off the ball. Layman is an exceptional athlete who has a natural stride when filling in lanes on the break. He doesn’t operate well in little space because he doesn’t possess the crafty ball handling nor does he seem comfortable weaving through defenders.

Layman’s offensive production will come mostly off motion that”ll allow him to build up momentum towards the rim.

For a player who opposing teams pose as a threat from outside, Layman didn’t get all too many opportunities to showcase his stroke. And it wasn’t a result of great defense that took the bulk of his looks away but rather, his teammates. Yes. His teammates.

Below is a video of Layman getting no love from his teammates.

Granted it’s a small sample size from one game, this portrays the lack of chemistry that hindered the Terrapins prospects from showing off their full capabilities. Selfish basketball.

As the numbers show, Layman is  capable of knocking the open one’s down as he shoots 39.6 percent from three (per Sports-reference.com), a 50 percent overall Field Goal percentage and a True Shooting percentage of 64%.

Layman also has the ability to post up smaller defenders where he can finish with an array of strange scoops and hook shots off the face up.

Weaknesses

Layman’s senior season as a small forward really exposed his inability to comfortably handle the ball and create for himself to many NBA scouts. It wasn’t too often that he was forced to create his own shot playing alongside the talented Melo Trimble, but when he was given the opportunity to, boy was it a cringing sight.

Unfortunately, Layman’s physical tools doesn’t transfer over to the defensive side of the floor.

His lack of lateral foot speed will be a huge concern for which ever team decides to draft him as he lacks the ability to consistently stay in front of quicker wings and guards. He’s more of a north and south athlete as opposed to east west.

More from Space City Scoop

Layman is also very undisciplined defensively. He has a poor defensive stance which makes it easier for opposing players to blow past him. He also has a tendency to bite the bait on pump fakes.

If Layman is looking to sustain a career in the NBA, he must develop a stronger base/core. As physically gifted as he is, he’s also easily bumped off balance when defending the drive. Layman also does not receive contact very well on drives which more often than not will alter his shot.

The knock on Layman among most scouts is that he has a tendency to disappear within the game. Though I agree that he does need to be more assertive, I can’t over look the fact that he played along side two guards who demanded the ball and were also not very open to passing.

His reserved demeanor can be seen as a blessing and cursing, as he isn’t a locker room cancer nor is he the emotional leader. Where it may hurt him is the lack of urgency and confidence he plays with.

Ceiling and Fit

In today’s NBA, Layman’s services will be as a stretch four who with development can grow into a play maker. If the Rockets were to draft him, it’d be foolish to expect an immediate impact as he’s mentally not ready for the physicality of the NBA. At most, Layman’s ceiling as a pro is a second unit floor spacer.

Next: Draft Prospect Malcolm Brogdon

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