The Oklahoman's staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Reggie Jackson.
1. What did you learn about Reggie Jackson this season?
Darnell Mayberry: That he's an all-around threat. It was evident even last year that Reggie possessed the potential to break down his man, get to the basket and make plays at the rim. But he's proven himself to be an elite rebounder for his position and, when decisive, a terrific playmaker as well. I also learned that Jackson is a much better corner 3-point shooter than he is at the top of the arc. When he catches a swing pass in the corner, particularly the right corner, he's money. When he fires from out front, he's iffy.
John Rohde: We learned what we already assumed — that when given a chance, this Jackson kid is pretty darn good, athletic as all get-out. Hate that it took an injury to Russell Westbrook for Jackson to finally strut his stuff, but it could help tremendously for Jackson's improvement this upcoming season.
Berry Tramel: We learned that Jackson is an effective backup point guard. Heck, at times, he was an effective starting point guard. He's no Russell Westbrook, but Jackson clearly can play. That was one of the silver linings of Westbrook's injury. We learned a lot — a lot of good — about Jackson's game.
2. What do you expect from Jackson next season?
Mayberry: Another year of rapid improvement. A sixth man role. A Most Improved Player caliber season. Jackson's confidence is at an all-time high, and now he's much more familiar with opponents after finally getting a chance to compete on a regular basis. All he needs now is the opportunity. Here's hoping Scott Brooks provides it.
Rohde: Another terrific sixth man for the Thunder. Hopefully, he'll get 25-30 minutes per game, either teaming up with Westbrook and/or running the second team. If Jackson improves his outside jumper out top and solidifies his defense by not taking unnecessary chances, I could see Westbrook/Jackson becoming a wicked combination.
Tramel: I expect Jackson to become the Thunder sixth man as well as the backup point guard. I think Jackson will play quite a bit with Westbrook, as well as running the offense the 12 minutes or so a game Westbrook sits. He can't shoot like James Harden or Kevin Martin, but Jackson can penetrate and get to the rim.
3. What is Jackson's ceiling, and could he be headed down James Harden Boulevard, meaning the Thunder won't be able to afford him after his rookie deal?
Mayberry: This is a very real possibility, and one of the reasons the Thunder might be in the market for a point guard rather than a big man in the upcoming draft. Jackson will be eligible for an extension next summer, and if he has the type of season we expect him to next year his value will go through the roof. The league has embraced explosive scoring point guards and teams are eager to land the next one. Jackson could soon be the next one. Consider that only six guards in the past four postseasons averaged at least 15 points, five rebounds and four assists per 36 minutes — Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Reggie Jackson, in his first postseason, posted 15 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per 36 minutes. Don't think for one second that teams like the Knicks, Lakers and Mavs, all of whom need a point guard and have virtually clean books in 2015-16, aren't paying attention.
Rohde: Harden played 158 games and 3,900 minutes his first two regular seasons. Jackson played 115 games and roughly 1,500 minutes, so Jackson is nowhere near James Harden Boulevard. Jackson is on a road less-traveled, something along the lines of Reggie Jackson Street. This should beneficial to the Thunder when it comes to the cost of Jackson's rookie contract extension. Otherwise, Jackson potentially could have priced himself off the roster.
Tramel: Oh, you never know. It's going to be hard to afford anyone. But I don't think his upside is as high as Harden's. Doesn't seem to have quite the basketball instincts of Harden. Which is no knock on Jackson. Harden's just a phenom. I wouldn't worry about Jackson two years from now. Plenty of stuff to worry about between then and now.