As practice wound down in early January, many of Jeremy Lamb’s teammates rested on the sideline with ice bags on their calves, thighs or feet. Others stretched. Some engaged in media interviews. But the fourth-year Hornets guard wanted to keep shooting until the team’s bus arrived, as Charlotte was in Westwood, Calif., preparing for a game against the Clippers the next day.
Catch. Shoot. Catch. Dribble. Shoot. Crossover pull-ups, long threes, deep twos, between the legs mid-range elbows, free throws — with each shot Lamb extended his arm, flicked his wrist and curled his fingertips over as if pulling a cookie out of a jar. The ball continued to glide through the net and Lamb didn’t seem to want to stop.
“From the moment he stepped foot in Charlotte, even back in the summer time, I felt like he came to Charlotte with a worker’s-like attitude,” Hornets forward Marvin Williams said. “He was in the gym every single day, he was in the weight room every single day.”
Lamb, who dropped 18 points and 13 boards off the bench against the Clippers on Jan. 9, knows how precious each shot is. Spending the last three years in Oklahoma City and in the D-League, Lamb questioned if his young NBA career was nearing its end. That’s why the 23-year-old is shooting jumper after jumper, determined to make a mark with his new team. The reserve is averaging a career-high 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 21 minutes.
“He’s a guy that can really go in and get hot and really change the game in our second unit,” Hornets center Frank Kaminsky said.
A spark that drains a three, intercepts a pass or rips down a rebound, Lamb is helping the Hornets (26-26) fight for a playoff spot.
“When I was in OKC, I wasn’t playing and everybody was telling me, ‘It’s going to pay off. It’s going to pay off. Just keep working,’” Lamb said, finally taking a seat to cool down. “I really just tried to earn my keep and just keep working hard … At times it seemed like it wasn’t paying off and hard work was not doing anything. But hard work always pays off.” (READ MORE).