Lamb Rolls With Change In D-League

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RENO, Nev. — Things change.

Jeremy Lamb knows that as well as anybody.

He was the 12th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Rockets and was supposed to be a key part of a young nucleus for the future. Then on Oct. 27, Lamb was traded to the Thunder as part of the deal that sent James Harden to Houston.

Now 2 1/2 months into his rookie season, Lamb’s destination changes from day to day as he’s played 13 games with OKC and 11 as an assigned player with the NBA D-League Tulsa 66ers.

On Thursday, Lamb wrapped up his two-game stint at the D-League Showcase by hitting 11-for-19 shots to score 33 points and also had eight rebounds and three assists.

“I hit some shots and that always feels good,” said Lamb. “But the main idea is to get reps and try to stay sharp in case they need me at OKC.”

At just 20 years old, Lamb knew there was plenty he had to learn at the pro level, but figured he’d be doing it exclusively alongside Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder this season.

“I’ll admit that I wasn’t really happy when they first came and told me that they wanted me to play in the D-League,” he said. “I mean, you come out of college and get drafted and the thrill and the expectation is that you’re in the NBA.

“You’re hearing what they’re saying when they tell you about the D-League and how it can help. Still it’s pretty hard not to feel like you’ve been demoted. But once I got to Tulsa and got play a few games and get plenty of minutes, I could understand the value and it’s made a lot of sense.”

Lamb has shuttled back and forth between OKC and Tulsa regularly, averaging more than 35 minutes a game with the 66ers, while getting just a token few runs with the Thunder.

His most significant contribution came on Dec. 19 when Thunder coach Scott Brooks called on Lamb to replace Durant late in the first quarter of a game against the Hawks. He not only hit two-of-three shots and scored five points in five minutes, but also didn’t allow Josh Smith to score, despite giving up size on a steady diet of post-up plays.

While Lamb is averaging 21.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in the D-League, he’s got the most work to do at the defensive end.

“I’ve got to learn to be more consistent on defense,” he said. “You can’t take a possession off. You can’t lose your focus at any time. Those are things that I definitely work on in practice when I’m in OKC, but’s game situations that really test your concentration. The idea is to make the most of these games in the D-League and to get myself to a point where if something happens in OKC and I’m needed, I’m ready to step in.”

As Lamb knows, things change quickly.

51 Comments

  1. ballinallday says:

    I like the way he took his demotion like a man. He is being very mature about it even though he admits being dissappointed at first. He is young and there will be many opportunities for him in the NBA. My guess is he will end up being traded again which could work out best for him. The Warriors might be a good fit,he sorta reminds me of Shaun Livingston.

  2. bu says:

    D League has good use as it’s an intermediary between pros & college. Young players just came out of college, gets drafted by NBA, used to have very few minutes of playing time, playing behind veterans. How can you can game time & face some game pressure when you don’t hv minutes? Not everyone can adjust quickly. Before, u cut or trade the player apart from further sitting on bench. Once they get cut, they may go to the, forgot the official name, the minor league.

    Now D League has a seamless bridge to cross back & forth, to really help develop players who want to make it to the pros. Giving playing time, still hope & opportunities to shine, so it’s not bad.

    Lamb has good attitude which is complete contrast to Royce White of Houston. But I guess his phobia issue is the greatest illness to overcome for “everybody around the world” & he wanted to be paid & treated very specially as he thinks Houston should just take care of his unluckiness by paying him while keep him on line-up, but no traveling (i.e. skip 25-30% of the games). Good attitude & thinking, man!!!

  3. MJfromOKC says:

    I would be surprised if Lamb went anywhere. Hes the one rookie we have that has a lot of skill and potential. Perry Jones III might have potential we will see.

    Lamb did get minutes in some early regular season games and he missed almost all of his shots and turned the ball over. I think it was clear to coach Brooks that he needed more of an adjustment period.

  4. J says:

    Just lookin’ at the highlights you can see he has a lot of work to do. Mainly on the fact that he struggles at creating in the paint and turns the ball over a lot. further developing his ball handling skills and creating his own shot will help him a lot going further. Good prospect, OKC got a good deal for Harden.

  5. mario says:

    Lamb has the potential to be an all star n i m sure Presti knows that better. He s just 20, he needs minutes n some more muscle to be able to defend better. Next year he ll be a valuable part of okc’s rotation.

  6. I’d propose a fair trade to OKC to become a Dynasty franchise…

    What about swapping Serge Ibaka for Andrea Bargnani? A rising star for a thoroughbred defensive AND offensive master with great leaping, shot-blocking, not to forget about his rebounding abilities…
    I know, I know… Maybe Serge Ibaka is not enough for the Raps. To make the deal fair, OKC should also add one between Jeremy Lamb or Kevin Durant…

    I’ve heard that the latter will soon be great ;-)

    ihih

  7. Bob M. says:

    Jeremy Lamb was my #1 SG in last years draft. He has all the tools. A lethal jump shot, outstanding athleticism, and that “it” factor. He carried UConn to the Championship 2 years ago as a freshman. I think he would be an outstanding opportunity to play with KD and Russ, he would become an All Star. With that being said, I would trade him. I would send Jeremy, Serge, and a lower #1 from the Harden deal to Sacto for DeMarcus.
    DeMarcus is a very rare athletic and skilled big man. He would score 25 and 14 on OKC. Teams are double and triple teaming him now. He can really play. I know OKC fans wouldn’t want to part with Big Serge, but this is a very rare opportunity. Serge is a very good player; he is young and improving every year, but he doesn’t have the tools that Big Cuz has. DeMarcus’ tantrums are due to his teammates not getting it done and, because of it, losing. DeMarcus will, eventually, get traded because he doesn’t like to lose. The King’s would like to get rid of him, even with the 30 and 21 game. If they can get real talent like Serge and Jeremy (and a 1st), the Thunder would get a post player that may be the best for a decade…… very rare indeed. It’s a winner for both teams, the King’s would win more and have two high character players. The Thunder would get a player that would dominate over the likes of Chris Bosh, KG, BG, and anyone else.

    • Brother James says:

      There is no chance of that happening. You claim Cousins acts the way he does b/c he’s frustrated with losing? Did Durant or Westbrook or Ibaka ever act like that? And they were a worse team a few years ago than the Kings are. Remember that OKC was in real contention to set the record for the worst team in NBA history. None of them ever punched a bus driver. Cousins is a fool and always will be a fool no matter if he wins 80 games in a season.

  8. Carwash says:

    If Lamb is doing well in the D-League and is actually getting some minutes for OKC, at the very least he’s close to getting an NBA salary for a year. . . . So what’s league minimum? It’s around 3 quarters of a million, right? If he invests that well, he & his family will be set for life. Anything more would be icing on the cake.

    The bench isn’t too bad a place to be for a 20 year old majoring in basketball, eh?

    I wouldn’t worry TOO much about your D–for God’s Sake, Lamb–don’t get a crooked agent or fund an entourage! Invest wisely. The game will come to you.

    . . . and NO Murcielagos!!!

  9. ballinnnnnbgbujbrv says:

    Some stupid trades on here I swear….

  10. PoorPhoenix says:

    Royce White could take a lesson from this guy.

  11. PJ3 = Scottie Pippen without the Defense says:

    It looks like he has no desire to rebound, block shots, or help on Defense.

    ….. BUT… when starts the Fast Break it’s Gorgeous, and he looks more like a SF then a PF

    If PJ3 ever finds a motor, the Durant+PJ3 Combo will be a nightmare

    Someone please staple a sign to his forehead that says ( REBOUND)……. the talent is there

  12. rookie expect says:

    Jeremy Lamb is extremely strong, stronger than any 2 guard in the NBA. Will be excellent post-play player.

  13. Jose (Clipper Nation) says:

    Good Attitude I like the guy I hope he has a long career. Royce White is opposite of everything I said.

    • Common Sense says:

      please just add your compliments of Lamb and leave your criticisms of White at the door. Especially when you are representing the top team in league with the Clippers. Lamb is a fighter and there will always be a place for him.

    • jdls says:

      i disagree about royce white, he has anxiety problems, its a real shame that people judge him as if its his attitude or something, poor dude is dealing with a mental disease.

  14. Ubuntu says:

    Lamb is a great player i wish he was on the celtics. please play Lamb more often he has got great potential.

  15. Tom says:

    I think OKC should trade Lamb at this point, Martin is willing to stay and come off the bench and they need a vet for the next few years. I would try and pack him with a few fillers for Andrea Bargnani who can stretch the floor for them and be deadly in the playoff.

  16. James says:

    I think there’s a fair chance Lamb will get a good role next season. Looking at the contracts, it’ll be hard to pay K-Mart anything like what he’s on now, so if Lamb is ready to step up to the 6th man role, it’s there to be had.

    In the meantime, it’s up to Lamb to learn all he can and prove to the coaching staff that he’s ready to step up when the opportunity arrives.

  17. Lacy says:

    If yu not gonna use Jeremy Lamb trade him for some expiring contact or trade him to the Bulls we need a 2 guard like him

    • Common Sense says:

      they are using him. They are keeping him in the D League to keep his minutes up. D League is not another league everyone, it’s like a very good practice facility where they play scrimmages instead of practice.

  18. franck says:

    Lamb is a solid player, they just won’t give the kid some minute to show his talent. if OKC don’t want him, may they trade him. The kid has a superstar caliber, he can run any team in the nba.

  19. Swagshir says:

    The thing about the Thunder that noone seems to understand is that Tulsa is only 90 mins from OKC. The thunder send people down to the D-league but the same day they are back at our night games and Scott Brooks is trying to fit these young guys in (as recently noted with the play of DeAndre Liggins and Reggie Jackson). But what separates those guys from PJ3 and Lamb is that they can be solid on defense and go all out on the energy.

    Lamb still needs to develop his motor, his lateral movement, and his defense and he knows it. No one is arguing that the kid can put the ball in the basket but when you have KD and Kevin Martin (a hyper efficient shooter) along with Serge who is killing it from midrange, you look to what you really need and that is defensive help and some bench scoring. Lamb will get his time as long as he continues to grow. Rookies that get too much playing time don’t always make it big and get better (Beasley, Wes Johnson, etc.)

  20. Bijan Sharifi says:

    having jeremy lamb in the d league is like a hidden treasure, he could of been the next t-mas for houston is they kept him, is was such a good trade for okc, they got a potential superstar caliber player for the future, they are packed with a lot of weapons for the future, good GM trades, even though harden is gone, they have replaced him with lamb, for the future you will see how good he can become

  21. jake s says:

    I think Brooks and Presti are excited about Lamb playing with the Thunder. I know I am. He’s lethal from 3. If at the end of a tight game OKC plays KD, Westbrook, Martin, Ibaka, and Lamb, you don’t want to be the other guys.

    • specialfriedrice says:

      LOL…Martin…best of luck with that OKC…LOL…Kevin Martin…

      • Common Sense says:

        Kevin Martin is playing better than ever because he’s in a true position. He’s not a guard he’s a shooting guard and because of that he’s thriving here, so yes, Martin

  22. Billy says:

    My only fear with Lamb is that his skill wont be used and he will eventually get forgotten. His got skill and potential. Dont wanna see a wasted career due to lack of minutes.

  23. croneberg says:

    see? nobody cares.

  24. Texasheadhuntererz says:

    What about lamb for Paul George, hibberi, cash, and a mid level exception

  25. 4dawyn says:

    Rockets shouldve tried thier best packaging someone instead of this guy, wouldve been deadly with him and harden on the same team. This guy has really great potential, this guy will be a superstar in 4-5 years. Trust me ill bet on that!

    • got_watcha_want says:

      This poster is on target here!!! Lamb would have been fun to see in Houston next to Harden and developing on the fly off the bench, but unfortunately we have to wait and see him develop like those “no name guys” from the Spurs. Dont take this as a demotion Jeremy! Trust your management and your career will be exactly where you want it to be. Just ask Jimmy Harden next time you are in Houston……

  26. stu says:

    ha hibbert? why would pacers trade an all star last year for a rookie playin in d-league

    • TMJpn says:

      Because since he got an all-star nod and decent pay check, he’s almost playing like a rookie from the D-league! Most of his numbers are down from last year. Less than 10ppg now and shooting the lowest FG % of his career, and rewarding the the Pacers with less for more $.

      I liked watching him be the man last year, but he needs to get up and carry a bit more.

      • Common Sense says:

        the problem with playing for a pay raise, is when you get it, you don’t need to play anymore, you got the raise

  27. Acai in a bowl says:

    He’s a talented player and seems like a sharp kid. My guess is while the D-league can be helpful, it will only teach you so much. At some point, OKC is going to have to learn how to rotate young prospects into the game and stop playing Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka 40 minutes a night.

    • TMJpn says:

      Considering that OKC’s development of their rookies has produced player stock the likes of Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka.. as well as James Harden & Jeff Green.. one could think that OKC knows how to hone young talent into reliable players IF they have the attitude and ambition to do it.

      One could even look at the improvement of Thabeet in the OKC line up. a former #2 draft that was accepted as a a bust, now starting to show so some value since putting on the blue, orange and white!

      • TMJpn says:

        I should say Sonics/Thunder know how to develop their young core.

        But for sure; Scott Brooks must get some major respect from his young guys.

      • Common Sense says:

        Yeah, but the core was developed by Seattle. But yes, the tradition continues in OKC. I still think it’s weird about that though. In three years they’ll be talking about the best record in franchise history and OKC will be referring to the Sonics franchise and Seattle will be talking about Sacramentos franchise. The franchise should start over when it hits a new city…just an added thought…sorry

  28. GrizzGuy says:

    The 12th pick in the draft shouldn’t be in the D-League without getting a chance to play some good minutes

    • specialfriedrice says:

      2 words…Kwame Brown…

    • Common Sense says:

      they have something going right now and they want him to play significant minutes but not yet. He’s not quite ready, as he admits. But they don’t want him to sit in OKC playing 5 minutes here and there, they want him experiencing 35 minute games so he’s ready to be a strong part of their bench with Martin. They have a plan and they are using their pieces very well. They are the western conference champs for a reason

    • slider821 says:

      A championship level team usually has a 8 or 9 man rotation. OKC has this and they also have a valuable young player in Lamb. He is maturing and getting minutes in the D league. When OKC does integrate him, he won’t miss a step due to his time in the D league. Smart move by a smart organization.

      He’s a rook so they arn’t paying him much. If they need a trade chip they’ll put him in to show his trade value. OKC understands that he’s part of the future of the organization and in a few years will be a very important player on this team.

  29. NBA FAN says:

    If OKC will not give some minutes to Jeremy Lamb its better to trade him. Get a much better offensive player at center or pf who can low-post. Maybe for Hibbert + ” someone else” for Perkins & Lamb.

    • Sérgio says:

      OKC doesn’t need any more offense. Perkins is needed for the offense/defense balance of the team. Not even mentioning that that trade you speak of is totally unreasonable.

    • Chris says:

      How bout you let OKC do as they see fit and just butt out?

    • RealFan says:

      ….Dude look at the cap…..Do you know how much Hilbert make?

    • kid says:

      I think that’s impossible because Perkins’ and Lamb’s combined salary is not enough to match Hibbert’s.. The Thunder is already over the salary cap space for the trade to work unless they add a few more high salary players from OKC’s side and a few low salary ones from Indiana. But there may be other rules I don’t know yet in terms of trading like paying the other team the difference in salaries in the form of cash. idk…

    • MIP says:

      Incredibly impressed at how professional Lamb has been as a rookie throughout this entire ordeal. Maybe others (DeMarcus Cousins) can learn from his example.

    • Jeremiah Storkson says:

      If they are gonna trade someone, it will be maynor. But not perkins or lamb Perkins brings intimidation and great defense to the thunder And Lamb has too much up side and potential. Maynor has been replaced the thunder has no need for him anymore.