Mere days before the start of the 2012-13 NBA season, the Thunder and Rockets connected on a blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Rockets. While the majority of the basketball world focused on Houston's new acquisition, Oklahoma City put a good amount of faith on the shoulders of Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb to help bolster the shooting guard position for both the present and future. With that in mind, the Thunder moved Jeremy Lamb over to the D-League to refine his skills with the Tulsa 66ers.
During his extended stint with the Tulsa 66ers, Jeremy Lamb thrived as the team's top scoring option by averaging 21 points and 5 rebounds per game. As we near the 2013-14 season, Lamb will be hoping to take that success back to Oklahoma City to fill the team's gaping hole at shooting guard, now that Martin has signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Late into his 66ers stint last season, Lamb and Tulsa competed against the Canton Charge in the first round of the D-League playoffs.
Jeremy Lamb clip (via Dakota Schmidt)
10:20: Less than two minutes after tip-off of this matchup, Lamb makes his initial imprint by deflecting an out-of-control pass by Arinze Onuaku and taking control of Tulsa's offense in transition. The 6'6 Lamb is easily able to glide down the court and put in the easy layup. As you'll be able to see throughout this game, Lamb is an extremely aggressive defender.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #2 (via Dakota Schmidt)
9:30: That aforementioned defensive aggression is showcased in the following play, as Lamb leaves his assigned player (Antoine Agudio) to move closer to the current ball-handler (Onuaku). Onuaku quickly spots the open Agudio with Lamb parked right in the middle. With clear space between himself and Jeremy Lamb, Agudio is easily able to penetrate his way to the rim to get the easy layup.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #3 (via Dakota Schmidt)
3:10: With Canton's backup point guard, Brady Morningstar, breaking his way to the rim, Lamb quickly slides left to block Morningstar's layup attempt. After the block, Lamb leads Tulsa's offense out on a fastbreak attempt, where he glides down the court before pushing the ball out to a befuddled Andy Rautins, who makes the short mid-range jumper.
To be frank, Jeremy Lamb's offensive focus with Tulsa was not about distributing the ball around to his teammates. Of course, that will change this coming season, as he'll be paired with more accomplished scorers on the court. Perhaps that could lead to more openings from around the perimeter or similar plays to the one that we see above.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #4 (via Dakota Schmidt)
8:20: A majority of Lamb's offensive production last season was based around his ability from the perimeter (35 3p% with Tulsa), but the following play showcases a more aggressive side of Lamb's offensive arsenal. After working around a set screen from Rodney Bartholomew, Lamb is able to work his way into the paint, before crashing into Travis Franklin (#17) and allowing him to get to the charity stripe.
While he isn't the quickest player in the world, Lamb does have the ability to move his way to the basket via both on and off-ball situations. As he likely moves to a more relaxed role inside OKC's system, Lamb will have the opportunity and space to work around the perimeter and drive his way to the rim.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #5 (via Dakota Schmidt)
6:56:The following clip starts out with Lamb closing in on NBA alum Kyle Weaver as he attempts a mid-range stepback jumper. With his long and lean 6'11 wingspan, Lamb is able to put a hand in the face of Weaver, which leads to the missed basket.
For a 20 year old perimeter-focused shooting guard, Lamb seems to be comfortable inside the post.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #6 (via Dakota Schmidt)
3:36: The perimeter mined Lamb starts out this clip by receiving a quick pass by Tony Taylor and nailing his first spot-up three of the night over Antoine Agudio. As he and the Tulsa 66ers go back to the defensive side of the ball, Lamb continues to closely trail Agudio as the Canton guard works off-ball to get to his destination. As they both reach the perimeter, Lamb moves to Weaver as he receives a quick pass from Agudio.
After doing a terrific job in terms of trailing Agudio and working around off-ball screen from Michael Eric, Lamb just becomes a little over-zealous once he worked his way to Kyle Weaver.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #7 (via Dakota Schmidt)
8:05: We start out this clip the same way we ended the previous one, with Lamb posting up on another Canton guard. Rather than trying to maneuver his way past his opposition, the 66ers' guard steps back and attempts a fadeaway that, ultimately, clanks off the top of the rim. A solid defensive stop by Liggins leads to another Canton turnover, and guard Tony Taylor leads the team's transition attack which ends with a two-handed slam by Jeremy Lamb.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #9 (via Dakota Schmidt)
1:25: With only fourteen seconds remaining on the shot clock, Lamb takes control of the team's offense and starts to drive right despite the crowd of Canton players awaiting his arrival. As Lamb is breaking his way into the paint, he tries to hit a step-back fadeaway to break away from Weaver but loses control of the ball as he moves away from Weaver, leading to his first turnover of the game. Using his mighty 6'11 wingspan to his advantage, Lamb is able to knock away Weaver's shot attempt to even up the score between the two men.
Jeremy Lamb Clip #13 (via Dakota Schmidt)
1:40: Similar to clip #5, Lamb is able to collect his own missed shot attempt and use that rebound for his own good. While on the move, Lamb is able to glide past Ryan Rossiter as he works his way through the Canton defense before nailing an extremely pretty floater to put Tulsa within a single point.
The future of Jeremy Lamb's involvement in OKC's overall future is still in question as he competes against veteran Thabo Sefolosha for the team's starting two guard spot. While Sefolosha's NBA accomplishments through his seven year career are more extensive than Lamb, there's still an opportunity for Lamb to step up over him for that starting gig.