For the second straight season, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be losing their sixth man.
With Kevin Martin leaving for the Minnesota Timberwolves, many are pointing at Jeremy Lamb as the player with the most responsibility in replacing his production.
Lamb certainly could be due to see some playing time in the rotation next season but giving the Thunder everything they are losing from Martin, won’t fall solely on Lamb’s shoulders.
The player who actually is most likely to emerge as the sixth man for the Thunder next season is Reggie Jackson.
Here is what Kyle Ramos of Bleacher Report has to say on the matter:
Additionally, Jackson has the necessary size to fit into the Thunder’s oft-used two-point guard lineups, either with Jackson and Westbrook or with Jackson and Fisher. Having another guard who can shoot and score next to him allows Jackson some freedom to play to his strengths and attack the rim.
While I do think that Jackson is ready right now for the sixth-man role, that could also change dramatically depending how well Jeremy Lamb performs in the early parts of the season. Lamb’s potential to be a great scorer could be realized sooner rather than later, but his general inexperience as well as how important each game is for the Thunder means that Jackson will likely get the nod.
I think Ramos hits the nail on the head with his assessment here. Jackson will be a very capable player for the Thunder off the bench as he has proven as much already with his growth last season and especially in the playoffs.
I could see Jackson closing out a lot of games for the Thunder as Scott Brooks likes what he brings on defense and he has also been able to fit in well alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
But if Lamb develops quickly, the role as sixth man could be his. At best, this will take some time I think. Even Jackson didn’t earn the backup point guard job from Eric Maynor until Christmas of last season. I think we will see it take at least that long for Lamb to start seeing serious time.
In the meantime, expect Jackson to be considered the sixth man for the Thunder while Derek Fisher and possibly even DeAndre Liggins get more playing time off the bench until Brooks feels Lamb is ready.