Oklahoma City Thunder: A look at the team's Blue Men Group

YOUNG MINUTE MEN — Who from Thunder U will graduate to meaningful minutes?
by Berry Tramel Modified: October 26, 2013 at 5:17 pm •  Published: October 27, 2013
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photo - Guard Jeremy Lamb is only 21 but will see considerable minutes this year. Photo by Chris Landsberger/Cyanotype print by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Guard Jeremy Lamb is only 21 but will see considerable minutes this year. Photo by Chris Landsberger/Cyanotype print by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

No NBA starting lineup is more stable than the Thunder's. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins are staples. Nick Collison has been an ever-present valuable. This year, Reggie Jackson steps into the sixth-man void left by the departed Kevin Martin. And you know come playoff time, Scott Brooks will call Derek Fisher's name on a regular basis.

But who gets the rest of the minutes? A look at the Thunder's young players and their chances of meaningful minutes:

1. Jeremy Lamb: Just 21, Lamb was an apprentice last season. Not so now. He will play. Best guess – Lamb is in the rotation full time and averages 15 minutes a game.

2. Hasheem Thabeet: The 25-year-old, 7-foot-3 center faces a challenge from Steven Adams to be the backup center. But Brooks usually is slow to baptize still-developing rookies. Best guess – Thabeet plays most nights and averages about eight minutes a game.

3. Andre Roberson: The 21-year-old rookie is an offensive millstone. But he knows how to play defense and rebounds like a mad man. Guys like that usually get on the court. Best guess – Roberson doesn't make the rotation barring injury to Durant or Sefolosha, so he'll play a lot in Tulsa and play some mopup minutes.

4. Steven Adams: The 20-year-old New Zealander has shown in training camp to make the Thunder believe he can be the center of the future. But that's not enough to make him the backup center of the present. Best guess — lots of trips to Tulsa, with occasional minutes in OKC, but nothing regular.

5. Perry Jones: The 22-year-old former Baylor star shows no signs of challenging the rotation. It seems likely that Roberson has passed him on the potential scale. Best guess – frequent trips to Tulsa, virtually no meaningful NBA minutes.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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