OKC Thunder: Reggie Jackson continues to improve

Though it's early in the exhibition season, the third-year point guard is quickly proving himself as a capable replacement to injured star Russell Westbrook.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 14, 2013

Reggie Jackson's next chance to strut his stuff comes Tuesday night in the Thunder's preseason home opener against Denver.

To this point, Jackson hasn't disappointed.

Though it's early in the exhibition season, the third-year point guard is quickly proving himself as a capable replacement to injured star Russell Westbrook.

In the first two preseason games, Jackson was in complete command of the offense. He set up teammates, attacked with forceful drives and feathery midrange jumpers and, of course, deferred to Kevin Durant when necessary.

“He's been doing a great job in training camp and the last two games of just getting everybody in their sets and running the point guard really, really smoothly,” Durant said. “He's doing a great job of making it easier for … everybody.”

Jackson's patience and poise was on display in the preseason opener against Turkish club Fenerbahce Ulker. He scored just nine points on 4-for-6 shooting and had five assists. But those numbers belied how effective Jackson was. He played with confidence and control while orchestrating the offense for 23 minutes. He didn't force anything and came out nearly mistake free.

Three days later, in the Thunder's second exhibition game against Philadelphia, Jackson went from solid to spectacular. He finished with a game-high 29 points, making 10 of 17 shots while grabbing six rebounds and dishing eight assists.

He had just two turnovers in the first two games.

“I'm just being aggressive, trying to make the right plays for teammates,” Jackson said. “I'm playing more freely and trusting what I see, not necessarily always playing to satisfy someone but trusting what I see out there, taking advantage of mismatches and being aggressive. It's been fun.”

Jackson has yet to show improvement on his 3-point shot — he's 1-for-7 in the preseason — but he appears to be taking shots with more confidence. Once he gets that shot down Jackson could become a nightmare match, a triple threat who can score, slash and set up teammates at any given moment.

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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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