After witnessing several key personnel departures in the off-season, the Thunder are now left with non-experienced young players in Anthony Morrow, Andre Roberson, and Jeremy Lamb who are candidates of playing in the starting shooting guard spot. Who should start? I am going to exclude Anthony Morrow because, even though he is a dead-eye shooter, his defensive shortcomings combined with his willingness to come off the bench would indicate that he will be part of the 2nd unit. This leaves us with Roberson versus Lamb for the starting spot.
Who is most likely to fill the starting spot? Roberson is a tenacious but inexperienced player who needs more time in order to be ready to play in a starting position. Defensively, I think he is a beast but at the same time he is un-reliable and his shooting abilities are too low. Therefore, if he plays in the starting spot, he is going to be similar to Thabo Sefolosha in the previous year. The defense is great, but in the playoffs, smart teams know how to expose the offensive liability and it puts additional pressure on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Eventually Roberson would be forced to make shots, and he hasn't proven yet that he can do that.
On the other hand, we have Lamb, who has an exceptional offensive game, earned solid experience last season, and knows how to work within the Thunder offense. In the 2014 NBA summer league, Lamb clearly working to exert himself offensively and was scoring in double digits in every game and his defense has improved. He was the player that lifted his team and at the same he was the player his teammates relied on. Therefore, I see him the most suitable player to fill the starting SG spot.
Nothing is guaranteed yet, but hopefully everything regarding the Thunder's line up is going to be cleared up when they play their first pre-season game against the Nuggets in October 8, 2014.