“The trust came with all the work that he put in last season,” coach Scott Brooks said. “When you don't play as a rookie, you have a choice to make, you can either pout or get better. He chose the (right) one.”
And for both he and the Thunder, it's certainly paid off.
Through 23 games in essentially his second rookie season, Lamb is averaging 9.8 points on nearly 49 percent shooting. Martin shot 45 percent a season ago.
And Lamb's been particularly hot of late, making 63 percent of his shots in the past four games and 55 percent in a red-hot December, which has seen him hit double-digit points in six of the past eight games.
“He's getting more confident each and every game,” Reggie Jackson said of Lamb. “That's my guy on this team. That's like my right-hand man, him and Perry (Jones), we always hang out, so I'm always happy to see those two doing their thing.”
Lamb, of course, is still an infant by NBA standards. And with this Thunder team in essential title-or-bust mode, his contributions will carry much more weight come playoff-time, in a high-pressure environment he has yet to face.
But the early signs have been nothing but positive, and the offensive ceiling looks limitless. He just needed the chance.
“He's coming along at a nice pace,” Brooks said. “He's still developing, still evolving into the player we want him to become. But I think he's got a chance to be a really good player in this league because of his work ethic.”
That effortless looking jumper and rare length and athleticism don't hurt, either.