By Randy Renner
The students at Oklahoma City's Christ The King Catholic School got a rare treat Tuesday afternoon when four NBA players and an assistant coach showed up to help lead the Thunder Fit Clinic.
Thunder players Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson, Steven Adams and Grant Jerrett were all there along with Thunder assistant coach Rex Kalamian.
Usually one, or sometimes two players will help the regular Thunder Fit staff with these clinics but Wednesday the timing was right for almost a third of the team to show up.
"Seeing the kids smile and seeing how they look up to me, it's a great feeling," Lamb said after the workout. "We don't always get to stay long but we make the most of it."
Indeed they do. During the school year these clinic appearances usually occur during the last class period of the school day and many times it's during a normal PE class.
Lamb was the main spokesman for the group on Wednesday, "these events are always great, I think the kids had a good time with us and I know we had a good time with them."
It's been a busy summer for Lamb between trying to have some fun away from basketball during his summer vacation to spending time working on improving his game as training camp gets close.
"Attacking the rim was the main thing and just continue to work on my craft and working on my shot, my handle and my defense, workin' on every area really."
He's been back in town for a few days now getting in some voluntary workouts at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center and getting to know his new teammates, rookies Mitch McGary, Josh Huestis and Semaj Christon along with free agent signees Anthony Morrow and Sebastian Telfair.
"Yeah I've been with them a lot. Morrow, he's a vet, he's a great shooter and just a real solid player. He knows how to score, he knows his spots on the floor. Sebastian really helps me. He's a real hard worker and he gives me advice, you know he's been around a long time and then the rookies are coming in and working hard and it's cool to see them grow."
A lot was expected from Lamb last season and he got off to a hot start but tailed off, his 3-point shot failed him at times late in the season and especially in the playoffs when he was just 2-for-14 (14.3 percent) but still he averaged 35.6 percent from deep and 43.2 percent overall during the regular season.
One of the knocks on him last season (and something he admits to) is that he didn't pay enough attention to the defensive end of things.
That should change this season as Lamb fully understands now how important defense is in the NBA.
If he can bring that aspect of his game up and keep his shots falling he'll be in the mix for the starting shooting guard spot for the Thunder but it looks to be a pretty crowded field with both Jackson and Morrow along with defensive specialist Andre Roberson all expected to challenge each other for playing time at that spot.
Last season Lamb was on the floor for 1,538 minutes spread out over 78 of the Thunder's 82 regular season games and he logged exactly 100 minutes of playing time in 11 playoff games. A good chunk of that playing time (67 percent) was spent at the shooting guard position, most of the rest of his time on the floor (29 percent) was logged as a small forward.
The numbers from last season were almost exactly opposite of the time spent at those position in his rookie season when he was at small forward 65 percent of the time and shooting guard 35 percent.
This season? Who knows at this point what the splits will be but Lamb hopes to be ready this season to take full advantage of whatever opportunities are there.