OKC Thunder: Roller-coaster stretch as starter has helped Reggie Jackson's development

Jackson has gone through some tough stretches, but it's all about getting experience. In the long run, it will help make the Thunder become a more complete team.
by Anthony Slater Published: February 10, 2014
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photo - Reggie Jackson’s, center, level of play has become the team’s biggest question mark from game to game. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Reggie Jackson’s, center, level of play has become the team’s biggest question mark from game to game. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Within the next couple of weeks, if things go according to plan, Russell Westbrook will return to the Thunder lineup.

And the domino effect will knock Reggie Jackson back to the second unit, a more comfortable role in which he had been thriving, generating buzz that he was one of the NBA's best reserves.

Both developments will make the Thunder a more complete team.

But so, too, did Westbrook's absence and Jackson's forced insertion into the starting lineup.

Because during his experience over the past 25 games, Jackson became a better player, even if it included a bumpy path to get there.

“The point guard is a tough position,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “And then the point guard on a very good team, it's challenging. He's embraced the challenge and he's improved.”

But it certainly didn't go as seamlessly as expected.

Given his consistent production in the first couple of months, the Thunder's hope was that Jackson would step into a more prominent role and continue that steady output. But it's been far from steady.

He began his latest stint as a starter with a 4-of-19 shooting performance against the Charlotte Bobcats. Then he went for 16 points, eight assists and no turnovers two nights later.

In back-to-back games in early January, Jackson went for 47 points on 26 shots. Then, right after, he followed up a 1-of-8 shooting performance with a seven turnovers and three assists.

That trend has continued into February, with his level of play becoming the team's biggest question mark from game to game.

“He's learning,” teammate Serge Ibaka said. “He's still young, third year, first time as a starter and on a good team … It's normal. All of us have (made) mistakes. Kevin makes mistakes.”

Jackson's defense has also been exploited, with plenty of opposing point guards taking turns burning the Thunder

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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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