It was no secret the Charlotte Hornets coaches believed Jeremy Lamb was ready for a breakout season. The early returns are eye-grabbing.
Lamb, starting at shooting guard in place of the injured Nic Batum, has scored 15 or more points in each game of the Hornets’ 4-3 start. Last season, Lamb totaled 11 games of 15 points or more.
Lamb, in his sixth NBA season (third with the Hornets), is averaging 17.1 points and shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. He totaled a career-high seven assists Monday in Memphis, and had 14 rebounds in the back-to-back victories over the Orlando Magic and Grizzlies.
“He’s stronger,” coach Steve Clifford said of Lamb, who reworked his diet and sleep schedule in the off-season. “It’s all the work he’s done in the weight room.
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“It’s the right time for him: He’s seen it, he’s watched a lot, and he wants a bigger role. He showed that with the work he did all summer, and he’s in a better place.”
Lamb has always had a gift for scoring. It impressed the coaches that he wanted to work most on other aspects of his game over the summer.
“He’s a much better all-around player,” Clifford said. “He’s scoring every night efficiently. And he can pass. In all the preseason scrimmages, he was our leading assist guy.”
When Nic Batum returns from a torn ligament in his left elbow, Lamb should strengthen a second unit that continues to be a concern.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell