OKC Thunder: Jeremy Lamb is far from a defensive liability

Lamb's insertion into the rotation brings Oklahoma City an added dimension that it lacked during Kevin Martin's 27.7 minutes per game a year ago.
BY ANTHONY SLATER, Staff Writer, aslater@opubco.com Modified: October 22, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: October 21, 2013
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photo - Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson (10) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb (11) in the first quarter of a pre-season NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Oklahoma City won 109-81. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson (10) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb (11) in the first quarter of a pre-season NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Oklahoma City won 109-81. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Two minutes after entering last Tuesday's game against the Thunder, Nuggets point guard Andre Miller identified a matchup he liked.

His bulky, 6-foot-2, 200-pound body in the post against Jeremy Lamb's 6-foot-5, 185-pound wiry frame.

And over the next three possessions, the heady 15-year NBA veteran proceeded to take OKC's developing second-year two-guard to school.

In a span of 36 seconds on the game clock, Miller posted up Lamb three times. The result: five points and three quick fouls, concluding with an and-1 layup that sent Lamb to the bench.

“People probably will try to post me a little bit, but I'm not worried about it,” Lamb said. “I'm just going to work hard, try to get position, not allow them to catch the ball, little things like that.”

For the Thunder, that part of Lamb's defensive game could become a bit of a concern.

Even in preseason, teams seem set on exploiting his perceived lack of strength. On Sunday, when Lamb was planted on the 230-pound Richard Jefferson, Utah's veteran took him right to the low block.

After a quick pump fake got Lamb up in the air, Jefferson completed a crafty and-1, almost identical to the Miller play less than a week earlier.

“That's probably a pretty common thing among younger players,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “They get tested … We're going to see (if he can defend bigger guards down there), because it's definitely going to happen.”

But despite that potential issue moving forward, Lamb is far from a complete defensive liability.

In fact, his insertion into the rotation brings the Thunder an added dimension on that end that they lacked during Kevin Martin's 27.7 minutes per game a year ago.

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