In the past two years, the Oklahoma City Thunder have lost their sixth man twice. First James Harden left for Houston, and then Kevin Martin headed to Minnesota. When you lose someone, you look to someone else to step up. This is the mindset that the Thunder have for their 2nd-year guard out of Connecticut, Jeremy Lamb.
In reality, no one should expect any player to come in and produce to the volume that Harden provided in his three years in OKC. I found it odd that people even believed that Martin could really take the place of Harden. Martin encompasses the ability to shoot the ball and find ways to get to the line. Harden’s versatility and intangibles are exactly what Houston is loving and what Oklahoma City can’t expect to get back. He can score at the rim and from the perimeter, pass the ball, get to the line, and control a team.
During Summer League, Lamb portrayed in glimpses the same abilities. Like I said, do not expect Lamb to match the productivity of Harden. Those same expectations ate Martin alive and his production in the playoffs once Westbrook went down showed that he is good, but not Harden. The Thunder organization may not expect Lamb to be the next Harden, but they do expect a big year out of Norcross High School grad. Don’t be surprised if Lamb delivers for “Loud City”. In summer league play, he averaged 18 points a game and led his team alongside Reggie Jackson to a championship in Orlando.
Championships seem to follow Lamb. Everyone remembers his run with Connecticut with Kemba Walker. While Walker was the leader of the Huskies’ show, Lamb played a large role in their successes. He helped win the Big East Title as a 9th seed in the tournament and also lifted his game in the NCAA Tournament to help the Huskies and Jim Calhoun capture the National Championship. Just as Lamb did for Walker, he can do for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
Lamb is projected to be either the 6th or 7th man off the bench this year behind Thabo Sefolosha, if anyone. Lamb most likely will be thrown into the fire as Scott Brooks will insert him in for big minutes after not playing him at all last year. One of the reasons that I believe will benefit Lamb in his new job is because of the poise he possesses. Lamb never seems to get out of control or let things get to him. He plays at his pace and has tremendous basketball smarts.
His ability to shoot the ball will be big for the Thunder this year. He did not shoot the ball all that well in Summer League but everyone knows to keep a close eye on Lamb. Once one goes in, it could be a nightmare guarding him for the rest of the game.
I think Mr. Lamb could be helpful on more than just the offensive side of the ball. I feel like his length could allow him to be a pretty good defender. He defines long- maybe he can use his length to distract shot attempts and deflect passes.
Although Martin did not reach the expectations of Harden, he did provide an offensive spark for the Thunder. He helped the Thunder to a regular season number one seed in the Western Conference as they smashed their opponents night and night out. He was a part of the 3rd highest scoring offense in the league as he averaged 14.0 points per contest. Martin’s ability to get to the line and spread the floor are attributes the Thunder organization are hoping Lamb can replicate as well. Additionally, helping take control of the offense alongside Reggie Jackson and allowing Westbrook and Durant to take breaks would be a plus for the Thunder.
I believe that “Loud City” will be in for a great ride this year when Scott Brook inserts Jeremy Lamb into the lineup!