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Oklahoma City Thunder: Jeremy Lamb can go a long way toward making James Harden trade look better

The referendum on the James Harden trade continues, with the subject coming up frequently during NBA Draft coverage. But the reality is, we still don't know what the Thunder got for Harden — but we're soon to start finding out. And that starts with Jeremy Lamb.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: June 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: June 29, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City's Jeremy Lamb (11) takes the ball past Charlotte's Hakim Warrick (21) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Bobcats at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. Oklahoma City won, 114-69. Photo by Nate Billings , The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Jeremy Lamb (11) takes the ball past Charlotte's Hakim Warrick (21) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Bobcats at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. Oklahoma City won, 114-69. Photo by Nate Billings , The Oklahoman

The Thunder needs someone to step forward since Kevin Martin is surely on his way out. The team just doesn't have enough room on its payroll for the veteran guard, who was yet another piece of the Harden trade. He was a decent role player, but ultimately, he will leave Oklahoma City without having been that standout third option that many hoped he might be.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are still looking for a sidekick.

Could Lamb become that guy?

He clearly has talent, and the Thunder has a fantastic track record of developing youngsters. Durant. Westbrook. Harden. Serge Ibaka. Reggie Jackson. No reason to think Lamb couldn't join the list.

Just how good he can be remains to be seen, though. If he becomes that third option, then clearly the argument that the Thunder got nothing in the Harden deal doesn't hold up. But even if he just becomes a solid contributor off the bench this next season, that would be big.

The Thunder routinely needed more scoring from its second unit last season, so getting an average of eight or 10 points from Lamb, with an occasional 14- or 16-point game thrown in there, would be significant. That would not only help the team but would also signify that Lamb has grown and matured and might just be on his way to becoming something great.

We'll get our next look at him during the Orlando Pro Summer League, which starts July 7. It will continue the referendum on the Harden trade.

As of now, the deal has worked out much better for Houston. No two ways around that. Harden is a budding superstar. But if Lamb can emerge and contribute, it will make the Harden deal look a lot better on this side of the Red River.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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