With the ball in his hands, Reggie Jackson's primary scoring threat will always be on the drive, attacking the rim.
“I'm always trying to get to the basket,” Jackson said. “I think I can cause havoc in the paint just getting there. But if you don't take any outside shots, people are going to start sagging off.”
And that's just what the Utah Jazz did defensively on Sunday night. So as a counter, Jackson flashed his improved jumper, nailing all three of his 3s en route to a team-high 18 points and an easier-than-the-score-indicates 88-82 preseason win at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I feel more confident, I feel more relaxed,” Jackson said of his jumper. “I just feel I'm in a better position to do so. I understand that you have to take some outside shots and no matter what people say around you, you have to be confident in your game.”
In the first two seasons of his career, Jackson made only 37 of his 166 threes (22 percent). In the first four preseason games, Jackson had made only one of 11.
But during recent availabilities, Jackson and his teammates indicated the jumper was noticeably improved. He had put in the work this offseason, and that had spilled over into training camp.
But against the Jazz, we finally got tangible evidence in a game.
His three 3s accounted for 75 percent of the Thunder's points from downtown and also qualified as a career-high for Jackson. Preseason, regular season or playoffs, he'd never hit more than two 3s in a game.
“He's improved in that area a lot, especially on the catch,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “When he's on a swing pass, we all feel confident he can make that shot. I thought he had a great game.”
Sunday's game: Thunder-Utah box score