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Thunder draft pick Reggie Jackson might be Russell Westbrook 2.0

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: June 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm •  Published: June 26, 2011

Reggie Jackson might be better than you think, as a player and as a fit on the Thunder.

Four days after he became the newest cog in Oklahoma City, Jackson's selection still seems to be somewhat of a mystery to many.

But now that the dust has settled on the NBA Draft and the initial draft grades that feed our insatiable appetite for immediate gratification have been given, it's time to really examine exactly what the Oklahoma City Thunder landed with the 24th overall pick last week.

We might find the answer to be Russell Westbrook 2.0.

That very well could be Jackson's ceiling.

Last Thursday night, however, Jackson's surprising selection sparked so much confusion that it clouded most of our minds and prevented many of us from being able to make sense of how Jackson fits.

Jackson, the 6-foot-3 point guard out of Boston College, originally was viewed as a replacement to current backup Eric Maynor. That notion was quickly shot down by team management. And the more you think about it the more sense it makes.

Because Jackson's game is much closer to Westbrook's than Maynor's.

Call up any Internet clip of Jackson, and you'll see him soaring through the air for highlight dunks, flying through the lane for rebounds point guards have no business getting and virtually getting to any spot he wants on the court.

Sound familiar?

But even Thunder GM Sam Presti's stated motive for selecting Jackson seemed to be only a surface level explanation. Presti talked about how Jackson adds depth to the program. How his skills, given ample time and development, could really benefit the team.

It really all sounded more like someone trying to temper expectations for a prospect that could go down as the steal of the 2011 draft. Deep down, everyone knows Jackson has the skills to make an impact sooner than later. As of today, it just might be more likely that Jackson finds himself in the rotation next season than finding himself being shuttled up the Turner Turnpike to the Tulsa 66ers.

One of the biggest needs the Thunder had going into the draft was bench scoring. With Jackson on board, that hole might no longer exist. There still is a justifiable question as to whether the Thunder picked the right man for the job. Players such as Texas' Jordan Hamilton, Providence's Marshon Brooks and Marquette's Jimmy Butler were still on the board. But given the Thunder's track record in the draft the front office has earned the benefit of the doubt.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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