OKC Thunder: Reggie Jackson is developing into Thunder's next great sixth man

From this point on, Jackson, the team's backup point guard, would be better served contemplating a different meaning for the number six: Sixth man.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 17, 2013

Reggie Jackson can't get the number six off his mind.

“Game 6,” he said.

That ship unfortunately has sailed for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City lost to Memphis in five games in the second round, and with that next season starts now.

From this point on, Jackson, the team's backup point guard, would be better served contemplating a different meaning for the number six.

Sixth man.

“If that's the number that's called,” Jackson said, “I'm doing my best to just be ready for whatever situation I'm thrown into next year.”

Going into his third season, Jackson projects to receive a much larger role.

He proved in this postseason that he's earned it.

After sporadic playing time as a rookie, Jackson was named the primary backup to Russell Westbrook in late December. He was steady in that role and became something close to spectacular when forced to fill in for an injured Westbrook three games into the playoffs.

Jackson averaged 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and only 1.9 turnovers in 33.5 minutes during this year's postseason. He shot 47.9 percent in 11 games, nine as the starter.

Making his performance all the more impressive was that Jackson was just a spectator in last year's postseason, forced to watch every game from the bench while wearing a bow tie.

“When Russell went down, I thought Reggie did a great job filling in,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I'm excited about his future, about what he was able to do during the minutes that he had.”

Suddenly, everybody seems to be. Teammates can't stop raving about Reggie.

The last 11 games seemed to provide a glimpse into the future.

With guard Kevin Martin's contract set to expire, and the Thunder most likely having to let him walk due to financial constraints, Jackson just might become the team's newest sixth man next season.

Because the Thunder will be over the salary cap, the team won't have the resources to pay a replacement for Martin through free agency. Meanwhile, all available exceptions, such as the mid-level exception, would only sink the Thunder deeper into the increasingly punitive tax threshold.

That means the Thunder's approach this offseason could be addition by development.

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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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