Harden 2009-10 20 6 20.0 .387 .375 .842 2.5 1.8 0.5 7.7 Jackson 2012-13 23 10 32.6 .481 .316 .893 4.1 4.5 0.6 13.7
A couple of things to consider. One, the minutes played. I know people don’t remember, but Harden as a rookie was occasionally special but often shaky. Against his hometown Lakers, he often was ineffective. Meanwhile, Jackson has been invaluable this postseason for the Thunder. He’s playing much more than did Harden three years ago. If you go by production by minute, Harden 2010 and Jackson 2013 are father close. Jackson still has better numbers, but close.
And the age difference is significant. The upside for a 20-year-old is much different from that of a 23-year-old. Jackson still has loads of potential, but he’d have much more if he was 21.
But still. Jackson seems to get better by the week. Sort of like Westbrook, the guy he’s replacing.
For the Wednesday Oklahoman, I wrote about the Harden trade to Houston. You can read that here. The Thunder is going through some adjustment without him. But the Thunder is well-positioned to fill the potential loss of Martin.
If Jackson became the Thunder’s sixth man, OKC would need some extra 3-point shooting. Harden shot just 31 percent from 3-point range as a rookie, but by his second and third seasons was much more effective. Jackson this season shot just 23 percent from 3-point range. He will get better, but it’s hard to go from 23 percent into Harden/Martin range.
That’s not a requirement for a sixth man. But it would require some other bench players to be able to sink the long ball. Sort of like Daequan Cook in seasons past. I don’t know if Derek Fisher will return; he’s certainly capable of filling that role. Perhaps Jeremy Lamb will be ready. The Thunder has some options.