Reggie Jackson wants to be a starter. Scott Brooks and the Thunder remain non-committal on the idea.
That’s the news that surfaced during exit interviews last week, and the storyline that will likely linger until Jackson’s next contract is sorted out.
But no matter the eventual outcome, the Thunder controls Jackson for at least another season. And barring an unlikely trade, no matter if he starts or not, Jackson will be a key piece for the Thunder’s next title run — the fourth most important player on a team that already has already established one of the league’s best Big Threes.
“He’s a guy that fits the profile of a Thunder player,” general manager Sam Presti said of Jackson. “He’s got size for his position, he’s got length and reach, quickness in tight spaces. And he’s got a competitive will that we value.”
Jackson’s worth was on clear display during an season in which he was forced into a variety of roles.
“He’s been given a myriad of opportunities,” Presti said. “Some by design and some out of necessity. I think he’s worked his way through all those admirably.”
All in a 100-game span, Jackson has been the starting point guard for a red-hot team, the lone ballhandler for a bench unit, an off-ball closer in crunch-time lineups and a starting shooting guard in the Western Conference Finals.
All valuable experiences. And all needed as he heads into an important 2014-15 season for the Thunder where his role remains fluid but his importance has become clear.
Refinement is needed, though.
The Thunder has long been a franchise that preaches and successfully practices internal development as the best way to improve. And Jackson has been a great example the past three seasons, turning from draft day project to invaluable piece.