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Oklahoma City Thunder: Numbers are proof of Eric Maynor's struggles

Whatever happened to that open competition at backup point guard? Could it be time for Thunder coach Scott Brooks to circle back to it?
by Darnell Mayberry Published: November 25, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma City 's Eric Maynor (6) goes against Golden State's Stephen Curry (30) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.  Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City 's Eric Maynor (6) goes against Golden State's Stephen Curry (30) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman

Whatever happened to that open competition at backup point guard?

Could it be time for Thunder coach Scott Brooks to circle back to it?

The play of Eric Maynor has raised the question of whether second-year guard Reggie Jackson deserves a shot to show how he might fare running the second unit.

Maynor, once a steady hand and stabilizing presence off the bench, has not been himself since returning from a torn ACL. It's an injury that understandably leads to rust but one Maynor, Brooks and others insist is fully healed. Yet through 14 games Maynor has made only a marginal impact. He's averaging 4.1 points and 1.9 assists while shooting just 31.7 percent from the field. All are career-lows.

Brooks, however, recently told The Oklahoman that he isn't contemplating a change.

“I haven't thought about it,” Brooks said of supplanting Maynor with Jackson. “He's always in the mix, but at the moment, no. But he definitely has to be ready.”

Throughout the preseason Brooks maintained that Jackson was in an open battle with Maynor for the backup spot. Most considered it coach speak, a motivational ploy to get the most out of both players. Thus it was no surprise when Brooks chose Maynor over Jackson, even though Jackson showed improvement, growing confidence and a mix of athleticism and versatility that possibly could result in a better all-around impact.

In the past eight games, though, Maynor has averaged just 2.1 points on 5-for-30 shooting (16.7 percent). Brooks admits Maynor could be playing better, but the coach said he doesn't judge his backup point guards by their statistical production.

“If you're looking for stats, it's an up-and-down position,” Brooks said. “If you're looking for how that group is playing and how the team is playing, then you can get a better feel for how he's doing at a consistent level.”

So far, Maynor hasn't regularly produced in either area.

The second unit is getting worse, not better. Maynor's ineffectiveness has been part of the reason why the Thunder's bench has been outscored by an average margin of 3.1 points. Consequently, Brooks was forced to alter his substitution pattern five games ago and subsidize his second string with Kevin Durant.

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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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