All offseason, when it became increasingly clear that Jeremy Lamb would slide into a crucial role for the Thunder, his defensive ability was thrown into question.
But through three preseason games, including the Thunder's dominant 109-81 drubbing of Denver on Tuesday night, defense hasn't been much of an issue.
Lamb has been disruptive on that end, using his 6-foot-11 wingspan to tip, pick, deflect and distract opposing offenses, compiling eight steals and four blocks in three preseason games.
“People try to say I can't play D and all that. I don't really listen to that,” Lamb said. “I work hard on defense, work hard to get steals, work hard to make it tough on my man.”
But his surprising work on that end has been overshadowed by his struggles on the other, where his feathery shooting stroke — the talented second-year player's most appealing quality — has suddenly left him in the early stages of the preseason.
On Tuesday night, Lamb went 3-of-12 from the field. In three preseason games, he's 9-of-33 (27 percent) overall, including a rough 1-of-13 clip from deep.
“I gotta get back to the drawing board and trust the work I've put in,” Lamb said.
Because it's still preseason, and still such a small three-game sample size, his teammates and coaches refuse to panic.
“They're not falling right now,” Scott Brooks said of Lamb's shot postgame. “But there's no reason to not believe that they will.”
And Tuesday's game against Denver might have been the best evidence of that.
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