Oklahoma City Thunder: Reggie Jackson gives OKC a spark, but is he being underused?

Since the trade that sent Eric Maynor to Portland last month, Jackson has emerged as a versatile weapon off the bench. The question now is why are Jackson's minutes still so sporadic?
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 25, 2013

Reggie Jackson had played just 4 minutes, 17 seconds in the first half.

All he could do in that time is grab one rebound and dish one assist.

By the time Jackson checked in for the third quarter last Tuesday against Denver, the Thunder trailed by 13. The Nuggets were threatening to blow out Oklahoma City on its own court.

Until Jackson supplied a spark.

In the final 2 minutes, 15 seconds of the third quarter, he squirted free for a fast break and was fouled while attempting a layup, earning two free throws. He blocked a shot by Andre Miller. He slashed to the hoop and threw down a dunk over JaVale McGee.

The Thunder closed the quarter on an 8-2 run and had new life entering the final period trailing by only seven.

Jackson went on to play the entire fourth period. Though the Thunder couldn't pull out the win, Jackson scored four points with four rebounds and one blocked shot in the frame, effectively providing a glimpse of the all-around impact he's capable of producing.

One night later, in an overtime loss at Memphis, Jackson did it again … and again Sunday night against Portland, proving his increasingly effective performances are not flukes.

Since the trade that sent Eric Maynor to Portland last month, Jackson has emerged as a versatile weapon off the bench. He's scored when baskets have been needed, rebounded at a high rate and run the offense with rapidly improving control and confidence.

“He's playing great. He's a lot more comfortable,” said Nick Collison. “He has a better feel of what he should be doing out there. And the thing with him that I really like is he's making the easy play. I've talked to him about that a lot. It's just his understanding of what he needs to be accomplishing out there is a lot better than it was earlier.”

The question now is why are Jackson's minutes still so sporadic?

Jackson is averaging just 12.9 minutes this season. By comparison, Derek Fisher has averaged 13.8 minutes since joining the team. In three of the past five first halves, Jackson has inexplicably played less than six minutes.

But things appear to be slowly changing for the better. Jackson has averaged 15 minutes since taking over the backup point guard job from Maynor in mid-December. That average is up to 15.9 minutes in the 15 games since Fisher arrived.


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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