Oklahoma City Thunder turns to new and improved Reggie Jackson

REGGIE JACKSON — The second-year guard has supplanted Eric Maynor as Russell Westbrook's backup. He's done it with benefit of assets that weren't available to him in last year's lockout-shortened season.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 28, 2012
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photo - REACTION: Oklahoma City Thunder's Reggie Jackson (15) reacts in the final seconds of the Thunder win over New Orleans during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma CIty Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Okla.   Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
REACTION: Oklahoma City Thunder's Reggie Jackson (15) reacts in the final seconds of the Thunder win over New Orleans during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma CIty Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

“Last year I was so timid, and the mistakes I made were, I believe, even worse because I wasn't really trying to do anything out there,” Jackson said. “So just knowing that you have a little freedom and being comfortable with the system a little more, and just a year of growth, I think, has really helped.”

Jackson was then asked where his comfort level is currently.

“Sky high,” he said.

A week ago, Jackson scored a NBA D-League high 37 points with nine rebounds and five assists while assigned to the Tulsa 66ers. That performance came one night after Jackson scored 27 points with seven rebounds and nine assists. The D-League named Jackson its Performer of the Week — which Jackson said was commemorated only with “a pat on the back” — and it only helped strengthen his self-assurance.

Jackson's task now, however, is a tricky one.

He must find a way to make an impact with limited minutes and less freedom. There was no Westbrook, Martin, Kevin Durant or Serge Ibaka in Tulsa. With the Thunder, Jackson has to play in a system and be solid rather than spectacular. It's a role that likely will suppress much of Jackson's natural gifts. But to play, and play well, it's up to Jackson to find the right balance.

“He's going to continue to get better, but that's not his job,” Brooks said. “As a point guard you have to understand your job. When he's playing in Tulsa, obviously he can do other things that we don't need him to do here and he's not going to be able to do here. He has to just focus on running the team, being a coach on the floor, setting the team up, knowing time, score, knowing who's hot, who's not (and) knowing what plays to call for certain players. And I think that's going to come with some time.

“He's like a lot of our guys. They're all a work in progress. But I thought the last couple of games he's been solid and hopefully he continues to improve in the way that he has improved in the last year and a half.”


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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Thunder at Houston Rockets

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Toyota Center, Houston

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37/HD 722, DirecTV 679, Dish, U-Verse 754/HD 1754).

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Three things to know

* This is the second of three games the Thunder and Rockets will play this season. Oklahoma City defeated Houston 120-98 on Nov. 28 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Former Thunder guard James Harden was held to 17 points on 3-for-16 shooting in that game.

* After earning Player of the Month in November, Kevin Durant is averaging 31.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks in December.

* Houston had won five straight prior to Friday's game at San Antonio.

Projected starters

Thunder (22-6)

Pos.;Player;Ht.;Pts.;Reb.;Ast.

G;Russell Westbrook;6-3;21.2;5.1;8.7

G;Thabo Sefolosha;6-7;6.9;4.3;1.6

F;Kevin Durant;6-9;28.5;8.4;4.2

F;Serge Ibaka;6-10;14.4;8.5;0.3

C;Kendrick Perkins;6-10;4.6;5.2;1.4

Rockets (16-12)

Pos.;Player;Ht.;Pts.;Reb.;Ast.

G;Jeremy Lin;6-3;11.9;3.9;6.2

G;James Harden;6-5;25.8;4.5;5.3

F;Chandler Parsons;6-9;14.9;6.3;3.7

F;Marcus Morris;6-9;8.9;4.2;0.9

C;Omer Asik;7-0;10.9;11.8;1.1

* Rockets record and stats are through Thursday.

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