Oklahoma City Thunder: Jeremy Lamb realizes that defense is key to his NBA future

He’s a gifted scorer with a natural feel for the offensive end. But defense? That’s a different story. “At first,” Lamb admitted of his initial NBA days, “I didn’t care about defense at all.”
by Anthony Slater Published: June 8, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Jeremy Lamb (11) defends against San Antonio's Boris Diaw (33) during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, May 7, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Jeremy Lamb (11) defends against San Antonio's Boris Diaw (33) during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, May 7, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Lamb will train in Oklahoma City for parts of the offseason. He’ll compete in summer league. But at some point, the plan is to head to New York for workouts against different players across the league.

And while he’s there, Lamb plans to go one-on-one against guys like Kemba Walker, his former college teammate who is one of the league’s tougher guards to cover.

“He’s real low to the ground,” Lamb said of Walker. “I used to play him one-on-one in college and playing him now, he’s real quick. He’s strong. So that’s a real small guard that’s tough for me to keep in front of. So playing people like him really challenges me and really helps me a lot.”

Despite the late-season slump, Lamb has proven to be a capable scorer in the NBA. Plus, he’s an above average rebounder for his position and an underrated thief, averaging nearly a steal per game because of his length and ability to jump into passing lanes.

So there are already ways he helps on the defensive end. But individually, he was continually bullied by bigger guards and exploited by quicker ones, leaving his teammates to either overhelp off their man or watch a parade of buckets flow through.

Moving forward, it remains an area of concern. But unlike when he first entered the league, he’s fully aware of that fact.

“I definitely will work on my defense and come back a much better defensive player,” Lamb said. “When you disrupt on both ends of the floor, I think that’s huge.”

And for Lamb, that’s the next step.

Additional links

-Roundtable discussion on Jeremy Lamb's season

-Jeremy Lamb report card

-Jeremy Lamb: By the Numbers

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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