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Berry Tramel


Thunder: In search of a two-specialty guard

by Berry Tramel Published: June 27, 2011

The Thunder drafted Boston College’s Reggie Jackson, and we can’t really talk about upside. When the Thunder drafted Russell Westbrook three years ago, no one’s wildest dream had Westbrook as an all-star and second-team all-NBA by 2011. So tread lightly on upside.

But here’s what the Thunder would love for Jackson to be. A combination of Daequan Cook and Thabo Sefolosha.

I know, Jackson is billed as a point guard of sorts, which he might be. But what the Thunder could use is a player with specialty skills of Thabo and Cook. Sefolosha is a defensive whiz, a guy who excellently guards most any perimeter player. Cook is a 3-point specialist, a defense-stretching shooter who is asked to enter the game and start firing.

What if the Thunder had a player who could do both? What if the Thunder had a defensive stopper who also had a singular offensive specialty, in this case shooting? Wouldn’t that be a valuable player? Wouldn’t that be one heck of a player?

Who knows how Jackson will pan out. Or if he’ll pan out. Who knows if his skill sets will be what they’re billed to be. Westbrook was touted as a potential defensive stopper; instead, he’s a whirling dervish of a point guard. So be careful of projections.

But the scouting on Jackson shows a 6-foot-3 guard with quickness and a 7-foot wing span. The defensive possibilities abound, though don’t forget, Thabo is 6-6. Big difference. Jackson was a 42-percent 3-point shooter in his final season at Boston College, so that’s good. And he’s a slasher. If Jackson doesn’t develop into a quality NBA 3-point shooter, that doesn’t mean he will be ineffective in the league.

Could Jackson become a contributor both offensively and defensively? That would make him a valuable roster hand. Two-dimensional players are nice to have around.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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