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OKC Thunder: What we learned in summer league

The main takeaway from a week in Orlando is that there's plenty of talent in the pipeline.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 12, 2013
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Jeremy Lamb is not just a shooter

A funny thing happened with Lamb in Orlando. The one thing he does best, shooting, is the one area with which he struggled most. He made only six of 22 3-pointers (27.3 percent) this week. But he did just about everything else. He rebounded, ran point guard, made plays of the dribble for himself and others and even played pretty solid defense. While it's good to know Lamb does indeed have some versatility, that won't be his role if he cracks the rotation next year. He'll probably be used primarily as a spot-up shooter. Everything else would be a bonus.

Steven Adams has a solid foundation

Few among us knew what to expect with Adams. But he was a pleasant surprise this week. His extremely athletic for his size and at times that alone will lead you to believe he should be playing. On one possession this week, Adams chased an opponent's fast break following a Thunder turnover. He caught the ballhandler, a guard, and ultimately stopped the ball and forced a pass. Adams then crossed the lane and contested the shot. There might not be another center on the Thunder's roster that can do that. Though he has a long way to go, especially on offense, Adams showed patience in the post, awareness in pick-and-roll defense and the makings of a nice baby hook. His rebounding and shot-blocking left more to be desired. He's in the right position to do both but has a tendency to stay on his feet rather than use his athleticism to grab those rebounds and blocks.

Andre Roberson is a rebounding machine

Get used to hearing about him doing the little things. Because he's great at them. In four games, Roberson took just 19 shots, the eighth most on the team. But he had 32 rebounds, the most on the team, and six steals, the second most on the team. His rebounding really stood out. Roberson has a nose for the ball and a knack for flying in out of nowhere to grab both offensive and defensive rebounds. Offensively, he's really raw but knows where to be and knows his limitations. Almost all of his 19 points came on cuts and putbacks. To maximize his potential, Roberson will have to develop a reliable 3-point shot.

Daniel Orton could leave the Thunder with a tough decision

Rarely do teams carry four centers. And with a leaguewide gravitation to small ball, the Thunder might be reluctant to buck that trend. But Orton showed tremendous improvement this week. He rebounded at both ends, scored out of the pick-and-roll and ran the floor for easy transition baskets. It was enough to raise eyebrows for many who haven't seen much from Orton due to his limited playing time the last three years. But the Thunder might soon have to decide if it can afford to let go of a 22-year-old big man with good hands, athleticism and a strong work ethic.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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