The Oklahoma City Thunder caught the toughest of breaks in the 2013 NBA Playoffs when their star point guard, Russell Westbrook, went down in the first round with a torn meniscus, ending his postseason. The Thunder were able to make it out of the first round, but were ultimately eliminated in the second round without having Westbrook to help lead the way.
Now that we’re in the off-season, though, Oklahoma City has been relatively inactive. They said early on that they weren’t going to use the amnesty clause on Kendrick Perkins, haven’t made any signings of importance, and were also unable to re-sign their sixth man from last season, Kevin Martin.
After trading James Harden in a deal that landed them prospects and Martin, the Thunder now have a huge hole on their bench and haven’t made any moves to fill that hole. Given their lack of signings, it seems like they may be planning to thrust young Jeremy Lamb into that role next season.
Lamb came to the Thunder as a rookie as part of the Harden deal and had little impact on the Thunder last season. He played in just 23 games at the NBA level, played just 6.4 minutes per game, and averaged only 3.1 points and 0.8 rebounds per game while shooting just 35.3 percent from the field and 30 percent from long-range.
Lamb spent a good portion of last season in the D-League, though, where he shined. In 21 games he played 32.8 minutes per game while averaging 21 points, 5.3 rebounds, three assists and 1.2 steals per game on 49 percent shooting and 35.2 percent three-point shooting. He also showed promise at the Orlando NBA Summer League this off-season, averaging 18.8 points, four rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game, though he shot just 39.1 percent from the field, in 31.5 minutes per game.
There’s no denying Lamb’s raw talent and ability to create on the offensive end of the floor. However, with little experience in the pros, it remains to be seen if he can produce at the level the Thunder would need him to if they make him their sixth man. He has the talent to succeed, but it will probably be a bit of a rocky road before he produces at the level that they need him to.