In each of the last two seasons, the Oklahoma City Thunder had a player coming off their bench with a good chance to be the best in the league at it.
James Harden was named the Sixth Man of the Year in 2011-12 and Kevin Martin was certainly in the discussion last season.
With Harden and Martin out, who will step up for the Thunder in that department.
Jeremy Lamb looks to be the one that is expected to.
The deck is cleared and the stage is set. The ball will come to him for open shots and Lamb has to knock them down. Simple, huh? Well, the game is always going to be easier when a couple of your teammates are named Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The second-year man who saw little playing time outside of Tulsa in the NBA D-League last season is no James Harden coming off the bench at this point. But he should step into the void left by Kevin Martin’s departure and get plenty of opportunities to make defenses pay. He’s a long shot in his first year with significant playing time, but is worth keeping an eye on for the future and will likely have played a big role if OKC makes a run for best record in the league.
The way the Thunder are constructed and what they have been used to, is having someone come off the bench to score a lot. This has a lot to do with Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha starting and doing very little scoring.
Lamb seems capable of being a good scorer in the league, but of course he is completely unproven in the NBA thus far.
Lamb will also not be asked to necessarily be the “Sixth Man” at the start of the season. Scott Brooks will certainly play Reggie Jackson more minutes from the start of the season, and probably even Derek Fisher and Nick Collison will get more minutes than Lamb.
Winners of the Sixth Man of the Year Award, are always basically starters and usually finish games. That was the case with Harden and Martin, also J.R. Smith and Jamal Crawford last season.
It would be surprising to me if Lamb becomes this next season. I’m hoping he does or at least gets the opportunity to, but it feels doubtful right now.