Heading in to this off-season period, the biggest question for the Oklahoma City Thunder was just who would step up and grab the starting shooting guard position. With Thabo Sefolosha fading away in the post season and eventually moving on to the Atlanta Hawks, would Reggie Jackson play alongside Russell Westbrook in the backcourt, would Jeremy Lamb put his hand up for promotion or would help come from outside the organization through the NBA Draft and free agency?
The picture wasn’t made any clearer with the Thunder making no moves prior to the NBA Draft and drafting Mitch McGary and Josh Huestis in the first round. McGary is a front court talent who will take time to find his feet and Huestis is a swingman project with little offensive game.
So would Summer League showcase just who was going to land the starting spot?
Well that may have been the case, as many thought Jeremy Lamb would build on the back of a terrific summer league campaign last year and a solid start to the NBA regular season in the season just gone. He found regular minutes prior to the All Star break, has said all the right things during the off-season regarding his shot and improved defense.
It hasn’t happened so far.
While Lamb has put up decent numbers in the points column, he has actually shown very little in terms of efficiency and effectiveness on both ends of the floor. He has shot the ball very poorly from the floor and even more so from 3pt range – something the Thunder are desperately seeking. With targets like Arron Afflalo, CJ Miles and likely Mike Miller off the market, if the Thunder were hoping for development from within at the shooting guard spot, they might be getting a little nervous.
As the dominoes continue to fall in the off-season, the opportunity to acquire outside help is disappearing quickly. While the Thunder have been linked to Pau Gasol and Anthony Morrow, neither have confirmed any real interest and once LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh all make their decisions known, it will be a race to secure the “scraps” that are left.
The waters might just have been made muddier rather than clearer over the past few days. Lamb – often seen as a security blanket (a talented young guard who just needs time to develop) hasn’t exactly shown the progression many were seeking. It might mean that OKC have to force their hand and to secure assistance from outside the arc, they might now need to look outside their franchise.