Maryland Basketball: Jake Layman made huge strides in Summer League

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 17: Vander Blue
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 17: Vander Blue /

Jake Layman didn’t see the floor a whole lot for the Portland Trail Blazers as a rookie last season.

However, the former Maryland star appears to have improved his game quite a bit.

In seven games in the Las Vegas Summer League this month, Layman averaged 12.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 28.1 minutes-per-game. He also shot 78.6 percent from the free throw line.

Layman ended up scoring in double figures in five of those contests. In Monday’s Summer League title game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Layman scored 21 points (8-of-19 shooting) and grabbed seven rebounds while connecting on five of his eight attempts from beyond the arc.

It was his highest output since scoring 23 points (9-of-24) and securing seven rebounds in a 94-87 win over the San Antonio Spurs this past Saturday.

The former Terrapin has always had the reputation of being an above-average shooter from the perimeter. However, he’s really been shooting at a high clip over the past weeks.

He ended up hitting just 32.2 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from three. Obviously, he did attempt 90 shots over a relatively short schedule in July, so missed shots are to be expected.

Layman proved that he wasn’t afraid to hoist up his fair share of shots. However, he also had a knack for making an impact around the rim for Portland.

The Massachusetts native certainly has the ability to excel on the interior given his 6’9 frame. He often played the stretch four position during his time at Maryland.

For example, former Purdue star Caleb Swanigan controlled a rebound on the defensive end and actually brought the ball down the court late in the second quarter. Upon setting up the offense on the offensive end, Swanigan hit a cutting Layman in stride and Layman threw down a ferocious slam dunk to cut the Trail Blazer lead to 43-35.

Layman certainly has all the talent in the world and a solid performance in the Summer League bodes well for his NBA future.

It’s just going to come down to how coach Terry Stotts handles the logjam at small forward. Portland currently has veterans Maurice Harkless (10.0 points) and Evan Turner (9.0 points) slotted ahead of Layman on the depth chart.

Harkless and Turner both played well for the Trail Blazers last season, but neither has the upside that Layman does. Layman can shoot, defend, and score in the low post.

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Training camp and the preseason are going to be huge for Layman. If he can keep this strong momentum going, he may find more playing time than many imagined this coming season.