Maciej Lampe didn’t have a particularly good first season with Barcelona and there was speculation the Catalan powerhouse was prepared to cut ties with him, despite spending money to buy his rights from Laboral Kutxa Baskonia the previous summer. But Lampe hit that corner three-pointer on game four of the Spanish league finals and Barça ended up retaining him, letting Erazem Lorbek and Marko Todorovic go instead.
Lampe isn’t the difference making, impact player he was at Unics Kazan but has turned out a pretty decent minutes-eater in his second season at Barcelona. Playing at a noticeably thinner frame than in his time with Baskonia, he provides lineup flexibility for head-coach Xavi Pascual due to his ability to play with pure stretch-fours and true centers. Rather unexpectedly, Lampe has logged more minutes than Bostjan Nachbar and Tibor Pleiss so far.
He’s played with unquestionable effort on defense and his mobility makes him an asset for Pascual to mix Barça’s pick-and-roll coverage. Lampe was asked to hedge-and-recover against a deadly shooter like Bogdan Bogdanovic and then guard the pick-and-roll flat against a less threatening scorer like Nikola Radicevic. He gets on his stance and has shown comfortable guarding in space, proving nimble enough to contest perimeter shots decently and stay in front of other big men on face-up drives.
Lampe has surprised with his quickness rotating to protect the rim and uses verticality very well at times but can’t play above the rim as a shot blocker at this point of his career, blocking just 11 shots in 25 appearances this season. He uses his strength well to hold ground in the post and box out bigger players, collecting 26.1% of opponents misses in the Spanish league and 20.7% in the Euroleague.
His decline is a bit more evident on the other end. Lampe is no longer the post scorer he once was, and has struggled with his touch on the jump-hooks he gets to attempt from time to time. Barça has gone away from the post up-heavy offense it ran when Lorbek was the best player in the continent and transitioned into a motion-based offense that ignites ball movement out of horns and the pick-and-roll.
Lampe’s a poor screener who doesn’t look to draw contact and doesn’t have any sort of gravitational pull even with the head start. He can’t really dive down the lane with much speed and can’t play above the rim as a target for lobs, though remains able to catch the ball on the move and still has touch to score around length – hitting 10 of his 18 shots at the rim in the Euroleague and converting 57% of his 54 two-point attempts in the Spanish league, having been blocked on just seven of his 154 shots all season.
His main contribution on offense is via crashing the glass. Lampe has played with pretty good energy fighting for offensive rebounds, collecting a very impressive 14.5% of Barcelona’s misses when he’s been on the floor in the Euroleague. Thanks to this and the eventual three-point make, Barça is scoring more efficiently with him on the floor in that league.
He’s merely a capable outside shooter rather than a consistent threat, best suited for spot-up looks than as a pick-and-pop option. Lampe has a low release point in his shot, not fully extending himself on catch-and-shoot opportunities and bending his knees too much rather than elevating up-and-down. But it does work fine for him when he’s left open and pulls the trigger without hesitation. He’s hit just nine of his 29 three-point attempts this season but converted 41.1% of his 56 such shots last season.
Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here and at BballBreakdown or at Upside & Motor, a couple of websites where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.