The Oklahoma City Thunder are going to be relying on young and unproven players coming off of the bench in the 2013-2014 NBA season more heavily than they have in previous seasons. After having James Harden two seasons ago and having Kevin Martin last season, the Thunder now don’t have anyone with the profile of the players that previously filled their sixth man role.
Guards Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb are the players that seem to be the most likely to shoulder the load for the Thunder’s reserves this season, though Jackson will be taking over starting point guard duties while Russell Westbrook is out recovering from his knee surgery. Jackson has performed well as a backup to Westbrook in his career and was solid for them in the playoffs last year, but Lamb still remains a bit unproven.
However, the Thunder’s higher-ups must be high on the duo for the near future. According to a report from ESPN, the Thunder have picked up the options of the rookie deals of both Jackson and Lamb, as well as forward Perry Jones III, who figures to play less of a role for the Thunder than the other two players.
Picking up Jackson’s option really seems like a no-brainer. To me, Jackson plays somewhat like Eric Bledsoe did as the Los Angeles Clippers’ backup point guard, just without all of the hype and thought that he deserves to be a starter elsewhere in the league. He knows his role, but also has the ability to play explosively and excitingly.
Lamb also has the potential to be both explosive and exciting, but he just has to put it all together. In his limited time in the NBA, he’s shown flashes of potentially being a solid contributor at this level, but needs to show consistency in his performance before we can really start celebrating him.
Based on potential and what these guys have already shown for the Thunder, picking up options on their rookie deals is a relatively easy call for OKC. The thing to watch now is if these players can continue to grow over the next couple of seasons and possibly earn their next deal with the Thunder. We shall see how they perform in their new roles and with their near future now clear with the Thunder.