The Thunder move to 4-0 in Orlando behind a big game from Jeremy Lamb — 32 points on 10-14 shooting, flirting with Reggie Jackson’s new Summer League record — with an insert score to insert score win over the 76ers.
- Obligatory Summer League disclaimer, but Jeremy Lamb looked fantastic. It wasn’t just that he scored ultra efficiently or knocked down his open looks. It was how he scored. Once he hit that little runner early, it was like the pressure was lifted from him and he found a comfort zone that he’d been searching for the previous couple games. He didn’t press with any shots or drive attempts, but more let the game flow and come to him. Lamb wasn’t just spot-up shooting. He was attacking the paint — so smoothly, I might add — curling off pindown screens and moving really well into space off the ball. The eight turnovers are ugly, but also forgivable. With Reggie Jackson resting, Lamb was the primary ballhandler a lot more, which is a good thing. He was a little loose with his dribble and forced some passes, but handling and creating is a skill he needs to develop. Where Lamb seemed to struggle most was with pressure on-ball defense. Again, issues that can be cleaned up and obviously, he’s not going to be handling near that much off OKC’s bench during the season. Lamb’s first two games were a bit of a struggle, with him going a combined 9-32. But he showed that he has that offensive ability. He’s young, and he’s still improving, so there will be painful games. It’s obvious that he can play though. It might just be a confidence and comfort thing for him.
- One moment I really liked from Lamb: With him sitting on 32 points and the ball in hand, Lamb attacked with on the dribble but instead of forcing something up to try and put more points up, he made a nice baseline bounce pass, which was swung out to Kyle Kuric who knocked down a 3. Smart basketball play. And a little show of in-game development from him. He read where the help came from, processed the play on the fly and made the right pass.
- Steven Adams looks way better than I expected him to. After a solid game on Tuesday where he shot 4-5 from the floor for 11 points and six rebounds, he followed that up with a 4-5 shooting performance for 13 points, five rebounds, two blocks and a game-high +17. Granted, he’s defending something called an Arnett Moultrie and not Nikola Pekovic or Al Jefferson, but he clearly has the makings of a very good defender. He doesn’t overhelp, he doesn’t get lost in rotations much, he doesn’t over-eagerly try and block everything from the weakside. He keeps his feet on the ground and mostly just uses his length and size to contest and defend. His screening has been very good and even some of his scoring has been surprisingly impressive. He hit a smooth mid-range jumper from the free throw line and a few baby hooks from the block. Now, he’s not going to be someone the Thunder are posting up and running offense for, but remember, this guy is a baby just taking steps toward (hopefully) something bigger.
- Another area that’s surprised me in Adams’ play: his passing. He had one dish to Dwight Buycks on a give-and-go where Adams had his back to the basket and no-looked a little bounce pass to a cutting Buycks. Right on the money, right on time. Everyone talks about having a big man that can score, but honestly, having a big man that can pass is sometimes just as effective. Look at what Joakim Noah does for Chicago’s offense. Running high screen stuff for Adams knowing he can hit a cutter off ball with a slick bounce pass is a very good thing to have in your offense.
- DeAndre Liggins played wonderfully today. He went 2-3 from 3, but absolutely hounded Michael Carter-Williams into a 3-16 performance with four turnovers. Liggins was just straight up dogged in defending Carter-Williams.