With the 2014 NBA Summer League under way, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a lot to build on. All eyes will be on Steven Adams, Jeremy Lamb and Mitch McGary. These three players will have a major impact on the Thunder’s upcoming season. Depending on their play, the Thunder may be a late-round playoff exit, or they could be earning themselves a trip to the NBA Finals.
Adams showed a lot of improvement in the playoffs, and so did Lamb. Both players had standout moments in the postseason, although they’re expected to be a lot better come next season. The Thunder’s bench production was a major reason the San Antonio Spurs walked away as the champions of the Western Conference. The Thunder surely needed more production from their bench. Adams’ growth also depends on if the Thunder bring in another center in free agency. If not, then expect Adams to take on a major role in the Thunder’s starting lineup next season. Look for Adams to be in contention as the top player for OKC in the 2014 Summer League.
Lamb could find himself inserted in the starting lineup next season as well. With Thabo Sefolosha out, Lamb is one of the choices to fill in that starting shooting guard spot, unless the Thunder go in a different direction in free agency. I believe Lamb deserves that spot. He will not grow until more pressure is placed upon him. He was unfairly ousted as a potentially important piece coming off the bench late in the regular season. He wasn’t consistent enough, but he still provided more off the bench than Sefolosha did as a starter.
McGary is the new guy in town — selected 21st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Michigan Wolverine was once the of the top two recruited players in the nation coming out of high school. He proved to be a solid player in his two years in college, but some would say his stock took a dip during his stint as a Wolverine. Injuries and person issues may have put a damper on his stock, but McGary feels as though he’s ready to pursue a professional career in the NBA. Anyone in doubt of him just isn’t familiar with his work ethic. McGary’s toughness and dedication should show early in the Summer League.