A few weeks ago, I was against the idea of Jeremy Lamb being named the starter for the Thunder at the now vacant shooting guard position, while many people had no problem seeing Lamb as a starter on the team. While the early evidence only comes from the Orlando Summer League, Lamb has not yet built a strong case to be named a starter.
Most of us agree that the Thunder are urgently in need of a reliable shooting guard, especially now that Thabo Sefolosha signed with the Hawks, and Jeremy Lamb is the top candidate to start at the shooting guard position if the Thunder did not sign anyone else. Reggie Jackson's name has been considered as well, but moving him to the starting lineup would greatly weaken a Thunder bench that was already exposed last year as extremely thin.
Let us analyze the performance of Jeremy Lamb statistically, and how strong his presence was on the floor.
Game 1: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies
- Points: 14
- Blocks: 2
- Turnovers: 4
- Assists: 2
- Rebounds: 5
- 3PT Percentage: 14.2%
- Field Goals Percentage: 33.3%
Game 2: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets
- Points: 26
- Turnovers: 3
- Steals: 3
- Assists: 1
- Rebounds: 8
- 3PT Percentage: 28.5%
- Field Goals Percentage: 38%
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Indiana Pacers
- Points: 12
- Turnovers: 1
- Steals: 1
- Assists: 2
- Rebounds: 3
- 3PT Percentage: 11%
- Field Goals Percentage: 23.5%
Field Goals: 16-of-49: 32.6%
3-pointers: 4-of-22: 18.1%
Yes, Jeremy Lamb had been putting double digits in every game, but he was simply frustrating from the field, and behind the arc. If I were to describe his overall shooting in one word, I would say "terrible." He keeps making fast and bad decisions offensively. He has been impatient with the ball, which has led to rushed shots and unnecessary turnovers. He has also struggled to finish at the rim.
On the positive side, Lamb is an aggressive player with good amount of athleticism and does have a good looking jump shot. He a good rebounder, although his defense still needs work.
This quote from Daily Thunder might sum up Lamb better than anything:
He looks like the kind of player that basketball has always come easy to him. Probably the best player in middle school and high school, at every pickup game he's every played in, and for the most part, in college too. But the NBA isn't so easy for him. And I think that frustrates him. Basketball is supposed to be simpler than this for Lamb.
Many young players struggle with this, that the game has come almost too easily for them, but when they start to play in the NBA, they are shocked by how much work it takes, even for the very best like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, to actually improve.
Jeremy Lamb has to realize that he needs to work a lot harder over the next 3 months if he is going to be considered for the starting rotation. After all, if he struggles this mightily against other players who have barely played in the NBA, how will he be ready to go against the best teams in the West?