Olll' Jeremy Long Lambs (wingspan?...anyone?)
The guy has had an interesting year for sure. In one of the quickest contract extensions the NBA has ever seen, the Hornets — like an over-eager boyfriend — offered Lamb a three year contact extension after only the first three games of the regular season.
In fairness, Lamb was sort of an immediate success in the Queen City. A kind of sixth-man aficionado with the youth and skill and physical tools to make you think that down the road...who knows?
I mean he was doing things like this, the day AFTER signing the extension (start at 35 sec in):
And now it's gone to hell. Well, mostly. He actually logged the dreaded "DNP - Coach's Decision" Tuesday vs. the Boston Celtics. Not exactly how the team envisioned their new shooting guard's role after the first four games, but I guess that's why they play the full 82.
At the moment, Lamb is at the end of the bench with sharpshooting lovable journeyman Troy Daniels eating up the majority of his minutes and D-League call-ups like Jorge Gutierrez getting first dibs come garbage time.
But why? What happened?
Well, it’s always difficult to say. As many pundits never admit, we're not at practice or in huddles or in locker rooms. Maybe Jeremy's behavior in film session borders on undiagnosed narcolepsy. I DON'T KNOW.
However, we can make an educated guess, and my most educated of guesses is that Lamb is a M.E.G. - Mental Error Guy.
Teams have all kinds of guys. Nice Guys, Mean Guys, Hustle Guys, Attitude Guys. It takes all kinds, etc. And just from watching the vast, vast majority of the Hornets slate this year, it seems that Lamb is constantly slipping up on what by all accounts seems to be a very tightly Clifford-run ship.
For whatever reason, whether its botching a defensive rotation, not knowing an offensive set, missing a box out, or taking a bad shot, Lamb’s issues — like many players — look from the outside to be originating from between his ears. A shame really, considering he has the physical tools that someone like the aforementioned Daniels will never have, and the skillset and ease-of-play that guys like his former teammate P.J. Hairston probably never will.
But none of that matters when you're prone to mental lapses on a team that prides itself in having none (see: turnover league rankings).
More than likely Lamb will get little time in the playoffs. A bummer considering some of his best performances came against some of the league’s best, including his season-high 22 against Golden State, and performances of 18 and 19 against the Clippers.
Look, with all of the talk at the start of the season on how much Lamb’s game had improved, looking back over the entire season, you'll see that really his output has been fairly similar to years past. It’s probably fair to say that Lamb is who we (and specifically people in Oklahoma City) thought he was. A 7th to 9th man.
All is not lost though, as one thing that’s easy to forget about Lamb is that he’s actually the same age as rookie Frank Kaminsky - 23. Not bad, right? Sure he’s been in the league longer, but the Hornets were right to lock him up for the next few years, and on a pretty decent contract especially considering the coming TV deal.
Here's to a postseason turnaround for Ol' Jeremy Long Lambs. He's got the potential, and Lord knows the Charlotte could use him. Let's hope he puts it together.