Thunder coach Scott Brooks likes to think his team is full of point guards.
“Everybody has to make decisions,” Brooks said.
That’s one of the reasons Brooks said he feels comfortable entering the season with only two healthy point guards, a possibility that became a reality Friday when the Thunder released Diante Garrett.
With Garrett gone, Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher will be the only point guards on the active roster while Russell Westbrook makes his way back from knee surgery. Fisher is a steady hand at the lead guard position but has become more of a spot-up shooter in the twilight years of his career. Jackson, meanwhile, has never started a regular season game.
Nevertheless, the Thunder isn’t currently looking into bringing in another point guard to assist in emergency situations.
“As of right now, no,” Brooks said. “We feel comfortable with who we have right now. Fish, Reggie, (Kevin Durant), Thabo (Sefolosha’s) played point in the past. We’ve got plenty of guys. Most teams when I played, they only had two. But we’re comfortable with what we do, and KD can play the point as well as anybody. We’re comfortable with what we have.”
The decision is as much a financial matter as anything else. The Thunder is less than $500,000 from exceeding the tax threshold and is determined to stay below it this season. The minimum salary this season for a player without any NBA experience is $490,180.
As a result, an early-season issue could be Jackson’s minutes. They could skyrocket.
Jackson averaged just 14.2 minutes in the regular season last year and 33.5 in the playoffs. With Brooks’ fondness of playing Fisher at shooting guard, especially late in games, Jackson could see several 40-minute nights.
“They were going to be at a larger number than he’ll probably get during the season,” Brooks said. “But I don’t think it was going to be many more than a starting point guard. He was in the range of 33 to 38 minutes a game.”