“More stops. More baskets,” Jackson said.
Oklahoma City's bench thus far has struggled to supply either on a consistent basis.
There are games like Tuesday's, when the reserves scored 25 points and were a key reason why the Thunder throttled the Clippers 109-97 inside Staples Center. Then there are games like Sunday's, when OKC's second unit scored 18 points, all by sixth man Kevin Martin, and does the Thunder no favors in a three point overtime loss at Denver.
“It used to be we'd extend leads every time, or make a run,” said Nick Collison. “This year it's been up and down. So we got to get that consistency back with our second group.”
Following the preseason trade of James Harden, the Thunder was forced to figure out a revamped second string on the fly. Sharpshooting guard Daequan Cook, a key reserve at times last season, also was shipped to Houston as part of the Harden trade. The Thunder also moved on without the services of veteran free agents Nazr Mohammed and Derek Fisher.
The turnover transformed one of the league's best benches a year ago into an average bunch this year.
After averaging 31.3 points and outscoring opposing benches by 5.1 points a year ago, the Thunder's second unit entered Wednesday's game at Golden State averaging 28.5 points and being outscored by its counterparts by an average margin of 0.9 points.
“The main thing is just about finding other ways you can help because it's not always about the points,” said Martin. “You got to get rebounds, make plays and do the little things. I think that's something that our second unit has been able to do … So it's not necessarily about bench scoring as long as you've got people that are effective.
“Our team as a whole, we still got some more steps that we want to take. So of course, that second unit, we still got some more steps that we want to take and that can be on either end of the court. That's just how it is when you're (42) games in. You just look at certain areas you need to improve in.”
A lack of balance on many nights seems to be one of the primary causes for concern. The game at Denver in many ways highlighted the season-long issue. Martin, for example, with a 15-point scoring average is responsible for more than 50 percent of the bench unit's scoring production.
The two-man game with Martin and Collison is developing well and quickly becoming one of the bench's best forms of offense. Beyond that, though, there is a steep drop off, mainly seen when the Thunder's second string isn't scoring in transition or sharing the ball in the half-court sets.
Jackson, who replaced Eric Maynor as the primary backup point guard, seems to be a capable source of more scoring. But the second-year guard is still searching for the right balance between running the team and manufacturing points.
“There's going to be some times when he's going to have to let his natural talent take over,” Martins said. “Like when we get a defensive stop and get a rebound and we go in transition, I think that's when Reggie's at his best and he's making the right play.
Jackson, who showed his scoring skills with an 18.2-point average as a junior at Boston College, said he's still trying to find himself.
“When to be aggressive and when not to, especially in the short minutes I play sometimes,” Jackson said. “I'm used to kind of playing a lot. I think all of us are when you come out of high school and college. I'm more of a feel player. I'm always trying to get other players going. When I have more minutes, that's when I'll have more opportunities to attack and take over. But I'm just trying to figure out how to do it in a shortened span in the time period I play. It's still a learning process for me. I'm trying to get better each and every day with it.”