In December, he shot an impressive 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. But since then, his shooting metrics have rapidly dipped. Since the start of February, Lamb has made just 34 percent overall and 29 percent from deep.
And while he has struggled, so has the team. The Thunder is just 5-5 since the All-Star break. And the issues have been primarily on the defensive end.
Despite Lamb’s rut, OKC has been scoring plenty. But it hasn’t been able to stop anybody on the other end.
So in search of more defense, Brooks has upped the playing time of Jones, his rangy “utility defender,” and Roberson, his defensive-minded rookie.
And Lamb has suddenly morphed into the odd man out, a development he didn’t seem too pleased about on Thursday. In postgame, Lamb was asked six questions, all about his shrinking role. He used only 17 words to answer them, carrying a vibe that hinted frustration.
“He’s a player that we love and that we’re going to keep working with and he just has to stay ready,” said Brooks, who added that Lamb had been handling the recent demotion fine. “There are going to be opportunities down the road.”
That may come as early as Sunday against the Mavericks.