OKC Thunder: Five things we learned from the Orlando Pro Summer League
From Reggie Jackson's improvement to Latavious Williams' rebounding, Darnell Mayberry shares the most interesting developments from the Thunder's play in the Orlando Pro Summer League.
ORLANDO, Fla. — At roughly 11 a.m. on Friday morning, the Oklahoma City Thunder scattered into summer.
But not before spending five days in Orlando focusing on development.
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The Thunder finished 3-2 at the Orlando Pro Summer League, but records, of course don't matter. It's the individual improvement by the players that trumps all.
Over the past five days, there was some good, some bad and some ugly things in Orlando. But ultimately, the Thunder accomplished its desired goal and walked away a better team thanks to some growth seen in several players.
Here are five things we learned in this year's summer league.
1. Reggie Jackson is getting better and gaining confidence
The 24th overall pick in last year's draft came to Orlando as the second most experienced Thunder player based on NBA games played. And he played like it. Jackson was a leader from start to finish, and he looked as comfortable and confident as he's ever been running the offense. He was a wizard in the pick-and-roll, regularly making all the right decisions. Jackson's jump shot looked improved and his decision-making and assertiveness got better each day. He was by far the most impressive player for the Thunder, causing many in the crowd to begin to wonder about his future with Oklahoma City. It was a stark difference from the player who not long ago faced questions about how he would handle a roller coaster rookie season, which saw Jackson lose the backup spot to Derek Fisher late in the year. But Jackson kept his head during the season and used Orlando to show that he might be ready to take the next step in his second year.
2. Perry Jones III is Lamar Odom lite
We weren't quite sure what to expect from the Thunder's 28th overall selection. And a sprained ankle late in the game on Day 2 kept us from getting a nice, long look at the rookie. But Jones didn't disappoint in his first two games as a pro. In his debut, he scored 16 points with eight rebounds and silenced critics questioning his motor. Just 24 hours later, however, Jones was much less impressive, scoring eight points with four rebounds and three blocks in what would be his final game in Orlando because of an ankle injury. His second game brought back questions about his consistency. But Jones showed enough to prompt Thunder assistant and summer league coach Mark Bryant to label Jones as a Lamar Odom type of player. While everyone agrees Jones has a long way to go before living up to that comparison, he certainly showed Odom-like ability to impact a game in a variety of ways, be it scoring, rebounding, facilitating or blocking shots. Jones might never be great at any one thing. But if he can improve and remain solid at everything, he'll have extraordinary value.
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