The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen one remarkable performance after another from star forward Kevin Durant since Russell Westbrook underwent his second knee surgery this year and has missed time for the second stretch of games in the 2013-14 NBA season.
Durant has been a monster who has been near unstoppable offensively as he’s maintained efficient production while also taking more shot attempts. However, the Thunder’s biggest struggle since the Westbrook injury has been getting consistent production from their role players. One player who that clearly applies to is second-year guard and reserve wing Jeremy Lamb.
On Thursday night against the Houston Rockets, the Thunder played terrific defense in the second half to earn a victory over their conference rivals. However, despite the Thunder’s 104-92 victory, Lamb struggled to be effective. In 22 minutes he put up only five points and one rebound while shooting only 22.2 percent from the field and going just 1-6 from three.
In the 11 games since Westbrook has been out, Lamb hasn’t been the reliable option that the Thunder need him to be off of the bench. He’s averaging 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and two assists per game, but he’s shot just 39.4 percent from the floor and only 28.3 percent from long-distance over that stretch as well.
While Lamb has been productive for most of this season and has shown real progress from a near-silent rookie season, he’s failing to rise to the occasion right now for the Thunder. If OKC wants to maintain their position in the Western Conference standings, they need more than just Durant to step up, which includes Lamb. If he doesn’t turn things around soon, struggles could be ahead for the Thunder until Westbrook returns.