After two seasons of trials and tribulations, Jackson has emerged as the most prepared player to step into what's long been a featured role for the Thunder.
“I think Reggie gained a lot of confidence in this playoff series,” said Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. “I thought he stepped up. He played well. He learned a lot of things on what to do and what not to do. I thought his decision-making was pretty good. If I had to give him a grade, the way it happened and how he had to just step in, I'd have to give him an A. I thought he did a great job.”
Following the conclusion of the series, Jackson garnered praise from multiple Memphis Grizzlies — including All-Defensive selections Marc Gasol and Tony Allen — for being a better player than they thought. Their words served as validation for Jackson. Nothing more. Nothing less.
“It let's you know you left somewhat of an imprint,” Jackson said.
But Jackson's success certainly hasn't seemed to go to his head. He said he wants to return “humble, hungry and ready to learn.” He downplayed any and all talk of additional playing time and possibilities of joining the conversation for postseason accolades such as the Most Improved Player award or Sixth Man award.
“I set goals to just do what's best for the team each year,” Jackson said. “My only goal is to win a championship. That's how you measure greatness. Even the ones who come before, no matter what accolades they have before, I think you all hear they wish they could go back and get a championship. That's all that matters.”
That's the maturity teammates see in Jackson that make them think the best is yet to come.
“It says a lot about who Reggie is and what he is going to be able to do as he continues to learn and grow and understand how to continue to get better,” said Thunder guard Derek Fisher. “Think about a guy that hadn't played much at all and essentially almost in a rookie season even though it was his second year, to do the things that he was able to do on the court, I think it is a testament to his work ethic and to his level of professionalism.”