SG – 6’4, 180lbs – Born 18th November 1992
After enrolling at five colleges in six seasons, Lofton began his professional career this summer with a summer league contract with the Pistons, one which subsequently turned into a training camp offer and then a two-way contract. Lofton impressed with a strong summer league performance, yet it must be noted that in his final college season with New Mexico State, he was genuinely very good. Then again, he was far older than everybody else.
Lofton’s advanced age for a man with only one professional season means there is not a lot of upside to him as a prospect. He just needs to be pretty much NBA ready right now if he is to ever crack the league for more than the dreg minutes of one game he got with Detroit this year. With New Mexico State, Lofton ranked in the 79th percentile in isolation, 76th percentile in pick-and-roll ball-handling, 90th in spot-up shooting and 84th in transition. He is a very adept scorer with spin moves, touch and aggression, a touch undersized for the two guard spot but athletic and determined to make up for it. The problem in his season here with the Drive was that he simply did not make the same quantity of shots.
A scorer through and through, passing plays are secondary to Lofton’s nature. He is an aggressive shot-hunter who takes early and difficult looks quite often, something that go-to guys need to do, but he is not a go-to guy if he is shooting this inefficiently. Similarly, if he took fewer early and difficult shots, he would not be shooting this inefficiently. Because of this aggression and sub-par outside touch, Lofton measured out this year to be a below-average offensive player other than by volume. Some improved toughness near the rim and holding onto his follow-through will help, but a sub-.500% true shooting percentage is about 100 points less than where needs to be.
This is particularly true given that Lofton has always been a bit spotty with his defence. By and large, this is down to effort. Yet having what is closer to a point guard’s size when asked to regularly defend twos is also not helpful, and although he uses his good speed to get into the passing lanes, he needs to commit more as well. Lofton has been a late bloomer, who still has quite a lot of blooming to do.
– 20th June, 2019
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