2016-17 Season in Review | Jeremy Lamb
By Sam Perley, hornets.com
2016-17 Review | Jeremy Lamb
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Back for a second season in Charlotte, Jeremy Lamb continued to provide the Hornets with a dependable, extremely athletic presence off the bench throughout the course of the 2016-17 NBA campaign. Not only did the fifth-year shooting guard make significant strides this season with his play, but some much-improved off-the-court preparations have him primed for success in the upcoming future as well.
Early Injury and Recovery
Lamb’s season got off to a strong start as he tallied 16 points and eight rebounds in Charlotte’s second game of the year, a 97-91 road win over the Miami Heat on Oct. 28. Things quickly took a turn for Lamb after he exited the team’s home opener on Oct. 29 against the Boston Celtics with a strained left hamstring, causing him to miss the next 10 games through Nov. 21.
Although he played a combined six minutes in Charlotte’s two outings following his three-week absence, Lamb was inserted into the starting lineup on Nov. 26 in place of an injured Nicolas Batum. He finished with 18 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for his third-career double-double in the team’s 107-102 home win over the New York Knicks. Along with names like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Lamb was just the 12th guard in NBA history at the time to record at least 18 points and 17 rebounds in a single regular season game.
One outing later, Lamb finished with 21 points and nine rebounds in a 104-85 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 28. This was the first time in Lamb’s career he had totaled 18-or-more points in consecutive games since entering the league at the start of the 2012-13 season.
Another Midseason Ailment
Over his next 22 appearances, Lamb posted averages of 8.9 points on 42.7 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 17.8 minutes through Jan. 10. Another injury though, this time an inflamed metatarsal, forced him back to the sidelines for another nine games. He returned on Jan. 31 and averaged 9.6 points on 43.8 shooting and 2.9 rebounds in eight contestss heading into the NBA All-Star Break.
A portion of the schedule that had self-admittedly plagued Lamb last year turned into a strength this season as the UConn product posted marks of 10.3 points on 48.6 percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 20.2 minutes across each of Charlotte’s 26 post-All-Star-Break games.
During this stretch, Lamb tallied a career-high 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the team’s 115-109 home loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 13. In his final three appearances of the year, Lamb averaged 16.7 points on 50.0 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steal.
In 62 total games this season (five starts), Lamb posted career-high averages in scoring (9.7 points), rebounding (4.3), field-goal percentage (46.0 percent), and total free throws made (110) to go along with 1.2 assists per outing.
Lamb was one of just 10 guards in the NBA this season to average at least 9.0 points on 45.0 percent shooting or better and 4.0 rebounds per game. Amongst all-time Charlotte guards, Lamb was the sixth different player to hit these thresholds in a single season and just the second to do so since the conclusion of the 1995-96 NBA campaign.
2017-18 Season Outlook
Lamb has a guaranteed contract that runs through the 2018-19 NBA season. During player media availability on April 12, the 24-year-old shooting guard reflected on how certain adjustments away from the court helped improve his play down the stretch this season.
“I did a lot better with it this year in terms of sleeping at night, trying to eat a little better, but there’s a lot of room for improvement, so I’m going to work on it again this summer. I’m just trying to get it to where I’m eating healthy every day. Like this year, I ate healthy and then sometimes I wouldn’t. Then I would eat healthy for a while and then sometimes I’d slip up. Just having a routine and schedule so that I can eat to keep my weight up [and] eat healthy so I can play the best I can play.”
He added with regards to his offseason plans, “I’ll probably be in Charlotte a lot. [I want to] just work on things that I felt I didn’t do as good this year. Continue to basically work on every part of my game, on and off the court, and come back next year stronger than ever.”