Orlando Pinstriped Post opens its series of Orlando Magic player evaluations with this review of Doron Lamb's 2013/14 season.
Owing to an ankle injury he sustained in training camp, Lamb didn't start the season in Orlando's rotation, which delay cost him some valuable time during which he could have distinguished himself and, incidentally, made him the subject of an OPP Mailbag story. Once he returned to full health and earned the trust of the coaching staff, Lamb teamed with Victor Oladipo and E'Twaun Moore as a part of the Magic's three-guard second unit, a role which suits his skill set as a solid outside shooter with some off-the-dribble creativity.
After the All-Star Break, Lamb appeared in 25 of the Magic's 28 games, averaging 4.5 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 16.6 minutes.
What went well
In his first full season with the Magic, Lamb embraced more of a specialist role by featuring three-point shooting, undoubtably his best NBA skill. He connected on 47.5 percent of his three-pointers at the collegiate level and attempted 3.9 treys per game, so the fact that only 30.9 percent of his shot attempts with Orlando in the 2012/13 season came from beyond the arc counts as puzzling. But in the 2013/14 season, Lamb took 56.3 percent of his total shot attempts from beyond the arc. Using that outside shot more often will help him stick in this league; fringe players like Lamb need to cultivate one signature skill and then expand their games from there, in my view.
And while his modest assist averages don't necessarily show it, Lamb became more comfortable as a secondary playmaker. He's a willing passer able to create off the dribble either for himself or for his teammates.
What didn't go so well
There's no question Lamb can shoot it, as his team-leading 44.9 percent three-point mark after the All-Star Break attests. The trouble comes when teams run him off the three-point line and take away his dump-off passes on the drive. Lamb converted a meere 38.6 percent of his two-point tries, his second consecutive season below the 40-percent mark on deuces. He has a floater that he trusts, but he'll need to become more comfortable using it--not to mention more accurate--to make defenses pay for closing too hard on him at the arc.
More broadly, Lamb has to find more ways to impact the game when he does get minutes. Despite his enviable three-point marksmanship, Lamb scored just 9.9 points per 36 minutes, and didn't contribute much in other areas of the game. There's no shame in being a specialist--every team, regardless of where it stands in the NBA hierarchy, needs a few--but those specialists do their clubs more harm than good if they're invisible.
Despite his affordable, minimum-salary deal, it's not a cinch that Lamb will return to Orlando in the third year of its rebuild; the Magic can cut him loose for no financial penalty before July 1st, according to ShamSports' salary database. If the Magic pick up another shooter in the 2014 NBA Draft, then Lamb could become expendable.
If he does return, however, Lamb will need to continue shooting threes at a high rate while earning more touches in order to justify a spot in the Magic's rotation. Adding a few points to his per-36 averages would go a long way toward cementing a job for him at the NBA level. And if he can accomplish that task while becoming more of a threat to score off the dribble, then he'll be set.