Share “OKC Thunder: Now established, Reggie...”

OKC Thunder: Now established, Reggie Jackson eyes defensive improvements heading into next year

Thunder guard was forced into a variety of roles this season, but knows the part of his game that must improve.
by Anthony Slater Published: June 12, 2014

/articleid/4906784/1/pictures/2750073">Photo - Oklahoma City 's Reggie Jackson (15) tries to quite the crowd during a free throw during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 19, 2014. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City 's Reggie Jackson (15) tries to quite the crowd during a free throw during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 19, 2014. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, The Oklahoman

But his spotty defensive effort shines as the biggest area he must upgrade. And, according to Jackson, it’s not a physical issue, but rather a focus problem.

“It’s more mental than anything,” Jackson said. “When I lock in, I can pick up anybody for 94 feet. It’s not a problem. Just the mental task of doing it. Pushing myself beyond the limit. Knowing I can do it on both ends of the floor, each and every night.”

Jackson’s poor closeouts, in particular, plagued the Thunder. Multiple times in the Spurs series, a lane opened for the attacking Manu Ginobili because Jackson either closed out lazily or overcommitted to a shot and left himself vulnerable.

“Especially when I feel a little fatigued,” Jackson said of his closeout problems. “Too many guys are blowing by me. I was kind of a detriment at times with that. I know the team relies on me to lock in on whoever’s in front of me and get a stop.”

Jackson’s unique offensive ability — he’s an improving outside shooter and, percentage-wise, one of the league’s best finishers — makes him impossible to keep off the court. So starter or not, he’ll average nearly 30 minutes next season, meaning his defensive improvements will directly result in team-wide defensive improvements.

Or a lack of growth could hold the Thunder back.

It’s up to Jackson during an offseason that carries great importance for the now-established 24-year-old.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
+ show more


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Verdigris Public Schools student being treated for unconfirmed viral meningitis
  2. 2
    Escaped Vinita inmate caught in Oklahoma City, back in custody
  3. 3
    Demoted high-ranking Tulsa Sheriff's Office official has resigned, fourth to leave since Eric...
  4. 4
    Owasso man arrested after police find marijuana growing operation in his home
  5. 5
    Best sex education video ever, made by a Brit
+ show more

FEATURED JOBS



× Trending thunder Article