OKC Thunder ready to see what Reggie Jackson can become in Sixth Man role

Backup point guard is entering a crucial year in his development.
by Anthony Slater Published: November 5, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (15) drives against Phoenix Suns' Eric Bledsoe during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Oklahoma Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (15) drives against Phoenix Suns' Eric Bledsoe during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

A variety of important decisions loom for the Thunder front office this offseason.

But maybe the most influential — before any free agency, draft or amnesty talk — regards the future of Reggie Jackson.

OKC's emerging third-year point guard will be entering the last season of his rookie deal. The “James Harden summer,” as some would now refer to it, gives the Thunder a final chance to lock up Jackson before he can become a restricted free agent the next year.

And that's what makes the next seven months so critical to that decision-making process.

Because as much as the Thunder brass believes in Jackson — and believes what Jackson will eventually become — they don't truly know.

When it comes to experience in the league, he's essentially still a rookie.

Jackson has only played 1,578 career minutes. That's less than Russell Westbrook had compiled by the All-Star break in his first season.

“We're still developing him,” Scott Brooks said. “We don't want to put a ceiling on his growth. We know that he has a ways to go.”

As a sporadically used backup point guard last season, Jackson showed glimpses of what he can be. Then, when Russell Westbrook went down in the playoffs, he emerged as the team's biggest silver lining, impressing as an emergency starter in a tough situation.

But now, with Westbrook's return, Jackson will finally slide into the role that many predict he will hold for the foreseeable future.

And it's an important one: Sixth man; leader of the second unit; spark off the bench. Not a starter, but likely one of the closers.

“Reggie, that's my favorite young guy in the league to watch at that point guard position,” said Kevin Martin, the current Minnesota guard and former Thunder sixth man.


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...
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