Yesterday in the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s first NBA Summer League game of 2014, Jeremy Lamb scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds. The solid game reminded us what kind of player Lamb could be if he continues to improve and become a more consistent player. Inconsistent play put a damper on a pretty good second season for Lamb. He eventually lost out on a lot of minutes for extended stretches of the regular season.
With Thabo Sefolosha now out of the picture after signing a three-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks, Lamb is poised to take over as the starting shooting guard, depending on if the Thunder bring in another player to fill the role. Caron Butler is a candidate to take the job if he does return, but I see the Thunder using him as their second option off the bench along with Reggie Jackson. The starting shooting guard position is Lamb’s to lose. He has a chance to prove himself in the Summer League.
For years, I believe the Thunder were held back by Sefolosha’s lack of offense as a starter for the Thunder. Lamb has a lot more upside on the offensive side of the ball and that will give the Thunder a lot more flexibility when they have the ball. If Lamb can improve his jumper and his ability to get to the hole, then the Thunder will have a whole new dimension to their game offensively. Lamb will fit in perfectly if he can improve. He has the length to also cause some havoc on the defensive end. He has to get his head in the game and bring the work effort on and off the court in order for him to take the next step as a profession basketball player.
The Thunder need Lamb to be that guy at the shooting guard position if they’re going to go deep into next year’s playoffs. They won’t be able to do much with a player who isn’t going to be focused enough offensively to expand their game as a unit. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will benefit from Lamb’s growth. For now, we’ll see how he pans out in the Summer League, but so far so good.