Two preseason games is far too early to draw any sweeping conclusions about anything NBA related. But it might be enough to start to raise some concern in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder need a sixth man who can come in off the bench and light it up. That was the Kevin Martin role (and before him James Harden’s role), now the Thunder are looking for someone to step up as a third scoring option. They need that role filled if they are going to return to the Finals as they intend (and they need him to be a second scoring option until Russell Westbrook returns).
Jeremy Lamb was supposed to be that guy (along with Reggie Jackson).
So far Lamb is more a reason for concern. He got his shots Tuesday — he played 25 minutes against the Pacers and got 11 shots off from outside the paint, hitting just one of them and going 0-of-8 from three. In the Thunder’s first preseason game against Istanbul he was 2-of-6 on jumpers and 1-of-4 from three.
What may be most concerning is this continues a trend. At Summer League in Las Vegas Lamb shot 39.1 percent overall and 27.3 percent from three. Last season Lamb shot chart was not pretty (unless you love the color red).
Scott Brooks is doing the right thing in trying to pump up Lamb publicly, as he did to the Oklahoman.
“Jeremy hasn’t shot the ball well,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “But I believe in what he does. He continues to work on his game. Like all of our players, we’re focusing on defense. But the shots will eventually fall for him. He works extremely hard on his game. He has missed some shots that he’s going to continue to get. They’re going to be open looks and he’s going to be able to step up and stick them in. I believe in that. I think our guys do.”
Lamb is going to get those looks and opponents will encourage him to take them until he makes them pay. It’s a cycle — he has a tendency to fall in love with that shot and not attack, and as long as he’s not hitting teams will give him the jumper and try to cut off driving lanes.
He shot a more respectable 35 percent from three in the D-League last season. He can do it. And to reiterate — it is FAR to early to say how this story is going to end.
But if Thunder fans are a little concerned, you can understand why.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson possessed the ball for 1:28 last night.
Teammate Ian Clark had it for 2:05.
Obviously, Thompson made a little more of his opportunities.
Thompson scored an insane 60 points in 29 minutes in Golden State’s win over the Pacers.
Remarkably, he didn’t hijack the offense to produce those eye-popping numbers. Thompson shot a cool 21-of-33 from the field, and 20 of his baskets were assisted. In addition to Clark, Stephen Curry,Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston all possessed the ball longer than Thompson.
In fact, nobody has come close to scoring so much while having the ball so little.
Here are the highest scoring games since the NBA began publishing possession time in 2013-14, marking points in time of possession:
The the second-lowest time of possession on that leaderboard was also by Thompson. He scored 52 points in 2:40 of possession against the Kings in 2015.
But even that game required more than a minute of extra touch time.
Who has scored the most points in a game while possessing the ball for fewer than two minutes? Again, Thompson litters the list – with last night blowing the rest out of the water:
- Klay Thompson (GSW-IND 12-5-16):60 in 1:28
- Klay Thompson (GSW-DAL 1-27-16):45 in 1:40
- Bojan Bogdanovic (BRK-PHI 3-15-16):44 points in 1:53
- Klay Thompson (GSW-PHO 12-16-15):43 in 1:17
- Anthony Davis (NOP-UTA 11-22-14):43 points in 1:36
Maybe Thompson knew what he was talking about when he said he wasn’t sacrificing for Durant. Even with his usage rate down slightly, Thompson has still found ways to flourish. He gets hot in a hurry.
It does take him a while to cool down, though.
Ever been so excited you didn’t know to react?
That was Stephen Curry as Klay Thompson worked his way toward 60 points in 29 minutes, running from the bench toward midcourt then doubling back and heading right into the tunnel.
Eventually, Curry found his senses and tried to put out the fire.
After the Rockets matched the Nets’ offer sheet, Donatas Motiejunas skipped his Houston physical today.
It doesn’t sound as if Motiejunas will become more cooperative anytime soon.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Unlike previous examples of Armstrong making foolish points to protect his clients, this could be a path that bites his client.
Motiejunas’ rights here were collectively bargained, and they’re pretty clear here.
He has a right not to undergo the physical within two days of Houston matching, but that means the Rockets can hold him in limbo through March 1. On March 2, his offer sheet would become void, and he’d be a restricted free agent – and unable to sign with Brooklyn for a year. Houston could also elect to formalize its offer match or make him a restricted free agent – still without the ability to sign with Brooklyn for a year – at any point between now and March 1.
Motiejunas probably wants the Rockets to “fail” him on his physical, which would send him to the Nets under the terms of the offer sheet. I doubt he’d even need to actually come in for a checkup if the failing is prearranged. But that’d require Houston general manager Daryl Morey squandering an asset out of the goodness of his heart.
Otherwise, Motiejunas is heading toward exercising his right to not get paid – while losing the ability for one year to sign with the one team outside Houston we know wants him.
The Nets’ signed Rockets restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas to an offer sheet. Houston elected to match.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Houston has a right to demand Motiejunas undergo a physical within two days of exercising its matching rights, which it did yesterday. Motiejunas is requires to answer questions truthfully and supply requested medical information.
If Motiejunas fails to meet those requirements, he hangs in limbo until the Rockets decide his fate.
At any time between now and March 1, they could elect to undo their offer-sheet match. That would invalidate Motiejunas’ offer sheet and make him a restricted free agent again, and the Nets couldn’t sign him for a year. On March 2, the same effect will become automatic.
I don’t see what Motiejunas gains by not reporting. If he fails his Houston physical, he’d go to Brooklyn on the terms of the offer sheet.
By not undergoing the physical, he goes nowhere.