Lamb, for instance, already has eclipsed the 147 minutes he played as a rookie. It took him just nine games. Adams, meanwhile, has played more minutes than Perkins four times. He was even inserted as the emergency starter over the more experienced Hasheem Thabeet when Perkins missed two games due to a death in his family. Derek Fisher, a safety net of sorts for Brooks, played seven minutes or less in four straight games, a stretch capped by a surprising night off at Golden State.
Brooks also started rookie guard Andre Roberson in place of an ill Thabo Sefolosha last Saturday at Milwaukee. Prior to that game against the Bucks, Roberson had appeared in only two games, totaling just 10 minutes. Brooks, however, showed trust in yet another young player and, consequently, kept his bench unit intact by keeping Lamb with the second unit.
Throughout these first 10 games, Durant also is being subbed out at various times, which has allowed more players a chance to pair with various combinations. Two point guards and three-guard lineups that feature Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Fisher/Lamb/Sefolosha also have been utilized both throughout games and in crunch time.
It's all making the Thunder deeper, more dynamic and more dangerous.
“We're getting experience, but it's also keeping us hungry,” said Jackson. “I think everybody wants to kind of figure out what's the set lineup. We may not necessarily have one right now, but it just keeps you hungry to go ahead and try to fight for those extra minutes and stay on the court.
“When you're not sure your number is going to be called or how many minutes you're going to get but you know there is a legit opportunity, you always stay ready because you don't want to go out there and disappoint.”