ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — Just a few weeks ago Doron Lamb seemed destined to fall to the end of the Milwaukee Bucks’ bench.
The rookie had missed most of camp with a torn elbow ligament. He was missing valuable time, time that young players aren’t often able to make up.
Lamb returned last week and was able to play in Milwaukee’s final two preseason games and opened some eyes and garnered praise from his head coach.
The Bucks second round pick out of Kentucky scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter Thursday against Charlotte to lead a comeback win and scored 12 points again Friday against Minnesota.
“He’s played good,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “He’s played much like he played in college, much like he played in rookie league, much like he played in September. He’s an under control player. Offensively he generally doesn’t make many mistakes. If he’s open he shoots the ball, if he’s covered he tries to put it on the floor and makes plays for other people. It seems like obvious things to do but a lot of players don’t understand that, especially young players.”
While he’s shown the ability to score early in preseason, he’s a work in progress on the defensive end. That doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there, however.
“He’s got the ability, too, to be a very, very good defensive player,” Skiles said. “At some point with a lot of work and focus, he can be very good at that end.”
Will Lamb find himself in the rotation to start the season?
That’s not known quite yet, but with the Bucks lack of depth at the guard position, Lamb’s strong end to camp has at least put him back into the mix.
“That’s not impossible at all,” Skiles said when asked if Lamb could play against Boston Friday. “That will be a good environment for him to see his first game. If he continues to play strong this week he can possibly get in the game for sure.”
There’s certainly a difference between preseason games and training camp than showing well when the lights brighten in the regular season.
Skiles doesn’t know for sure how Lamb will react, but is encouraged by what he’s seen.
“His style of play is such that he isn’t going to do too much out there that he can’t do,” Skiles said. “Typically that’s what young players would struggle with. They would go into an environment like Boston and get excited, they get the ball and start trying to do things they can’t do and they look bad because of it. He hasn’t really done that yet. But this is a little different type of environment.
“That’s the other thing that’s kind of encouraging about him is that he seems to have the ability to learn in the game. You can coach him and he can adjust a little bit. There’s a lot of things with Doron to be positive about, that’s for sure.”
Henson improving: The Bucks other rookie is close to returning to the floor.
Out since Oct. 16 with a left knee strain and bone bruise he suffered in a preseason game against Chicago, Henson shouldn’t be out much longer.
Able to do everything physically, Bucks trainers are holding Henson out until the swelling goes down in the knee before clearing him. They are concerned the swelling could cause other injuries if they aren’t careful.
“I walked in to see the trainer and he said ‘you are almost there’,” Henson said. “That’s kind of the timetable I’m at. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. If it keeps improving the way it is I should be fine in a couple of days.”
Changing things up: The Bucks scrimmage almost every day in some way, but Monday was a bit more controlled and organized.
The team brought in officials and made it more game-like.
“(It’s) something you can do occasionally during the season, but most days you just don’t have time,” Skiles said. “Today was a logical day to do it.”
Skiles noted that Lamb and guard Beno Udrih stood out in the scrimmage.
Tuesday’s practice will be shorter, as the Bucks have their season preview luncheon at the InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel at 11 a.m.
Dunleavy misses practice: Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy missed Monday’s practice with what Skiles called a “mid-foot sprain”.
The injury doesn’t seem serious and Skiles said it shouldn’t cause the veteran small forward to miss the season opener Friday.