Before he played a single game in the NBA, Jeremy Lamb was traded. Originally drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2012, Lamb was part of the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden from Oklahoma City to Houston to become the face of the Rockets’ franchise.
A former national champion at UConn, Lamb found his playing time in OKC sporadic. He got into just 23 games as a rookie, spending much of his time in the D-League with the Tulsa 66ers. As a sophomore, he got a jump in playing time to 19 minutes a game off the bench, but a year later he was in and out of the rotation, his minutes plummeting to 13 per game.
Lamb was traded to the Charlotte Hornets ahead of the 2015-2016 season, and it appears the lanky forward has finally found a home. He’s having the best season of his four-year career, playing 20 minutes off the bench and shooting a career-high 46 percent from the field. Lamb is averaging a solid 10.5 points and four rebounds a game, helping the Hornets compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
We caught up with Lamb over All-Star weekend in Toronto to talk about his time Charlotte, how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook continue to offer support, and Jeremy Lin’s ridiculous hair.
STACK: How has Toronto treated you for All-Star Weekend?
Jeremy Lamb: It’s motivation for me. I’m here doing things, but I’m not here because I’m an All-Star. You see all the other players, and we’re in the 8th spot [in the Eastern Conference playoff race], we won a big game to go into the break. That was huge. We’ve just got to sustain our play and try to make the playoffs.
Your first few years in the NBA were pretty up and down. Do you believe you’ve finally found a home in Charlotte?
Yeah. It’s been great. I love playing basketball, and to be able to be in the rotation every night is just great. I was able to sign a contract before the season started, and I’ve been extremely blessed. I love playing in the league, I love my teammates and we have a real good group. I’m just having a great time.
You’re no longer with Oklahoma City, where you began your career, but do you keep in touch with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?
Yeah, definitely KD. He definitely helped me a lot over time. Russ helped me a lot. I work out in the summers sometimes with KD and Russ. After I signed my contract, they both texted me and said congrats, keep working. It felt really good that they noticed me, that they told me “good job.” It was a real good feeling. I saw Russ last night, real good dude. I remember last year, he won the MVP of the All-Star Game, and he literally got on his flight, came back, and he went straight to the gym and got up some shots. I was sitting there like, man: The work ethic is amazing, and there’s a reason why they’re great players. They are real good dudes.
So their work ethic has rubbed off on you.
I remember last year we were working out in L.A., and we go in to work out and three or four dudes come in with cameras. I’m like, “What is this?” So we’re working out for an hour. Then we sit down, we’re mad tired, the camera people are like, “Alright, we’re out of here.” And then [Kevin] and Russ were like, “Alright, you ready to get some work in?” We worked out for another hour once they left. I was like, man, those dudes get it in.
We need to take a moment and talk about your teammate Jeremy Lin’s hair. What in the world is going on there?
He’s unpredictable with his hair. We don’t know what he’s going to do. Sometimes people will get on him, but he has fun with it , we have fun with it. It’s cool to see what he’s going to do from day to day. Sometimes he’ll do something and we come in like, “what?”
Has there been one hairstyle so bad that you guys just told him, “Hey, don’t wear that on the court”?
He had one hairstyle, and I looked at him like, “Bruh, you look a little weird.” A couple times he’s done hairstyles where we’re like, “Yo, don’t do that. Do something else.”