Kevin Martin is set to sign in Minnesota, and the keys to the second unit could now belong to Jackson. At a minimum, and for the first time, he'll be Russell Westbrook's primary backup from opening night.
The prospects of that promotion no longer send Jackson into a panic.
“Collectively, we have to go in there and get better at our positions that we're thrown into and hopefully we produce,” Jackson said. “But it's no added pressure. You can't do that to yourself.”
Jackson knows because he's been down that road before, two years ago as a rookie. When then-backup Eric Maynor sustained a season-ending knee injury, Jackson was thrust into emergency duty. Let's just say he didn't perform so great.
Jackson looks back on those days now and sees a totally different person.
“It was a person that was trying to be somebody who he wasn't,” Jackson said. “I felt the pressure of doing everything for the team, just coming in and being Eric Maynor rather than being myself. Now, I'm comfortable in my own skin. I am who I am. I'm going to try to learn but I'm happy to be who I am and I'm just going to have fun with it.”
There's plenty of time for Jackson to develop his ball-handling, decision-making and perimeter shooting. But this week, he's teaching his recent draft picks Steven Adams, Andre Roberson and Grant Jerrett some of the lessons he had to learn the hard way.
Keep playing. Stay hungry. Never be satisfied.
And he's leading by example, which is why with a shiner, three stitches and a left eye still swollen halfway shut Jackson stubbornly said he's just ready to get back on the floor Tuesday.
“I still got one eye,” he said. “I can see the floor with one eye. I'm good.”