Reggie Jackson admits he had his hopes up. Let himself believe he could step into the James Harden/Kevin Martin role. Become a Thunder sixth man extraordinaire.
Then Sam Presti and Scotty Brooks and everyone else started talking about how the Thunder rotation didn't have to be the same. The Boomers didn't have to have an instant-offense guy off the bench.
Maybe it's time to reassess.
Jackson is producing like he most definitely could handle such a role.
Jackson scored 18 points in 23 1/2 minutes Sunday night as the Thunder beat Minnesota 113-103 to raise its winning streak to seven. And Jackson's offense came in bunches.
Seven points in a 53-second span of the second quarter after Brooks had Russell Westbrook at the scorer's table, waiting for a whistle so he could replace Jackson.
Seven points in a 70-second span of the fourth quarter, during which the Thunder expanded a one-point lead.
“Any role I'm put in, I'm just ready to go out there and compete,” Jackson said. “I always believe in myself and think the sky's the limit.”
The sixth man role?
“Don't really think about it,” Jackson said. “Can't get too caught up in it.”
Everyone else should. During the Thunder's just-concluded six-game homestand, Jackson averaged 13.7 points on 55 percent shooting. For the season, Jackson is up to 10.6 points a game.
Harden averaged 12.2 points a game in 2010-11, then 16.8 in 2011-12. Martin averaged 14.0 points a game last season.
Better yet, Jackson looks like a money player. In the wins over the Spurs last Wednesday and the T-Wolves, Jackson scored 25 fourth-quarter points total, on 11-of-12 shooting.
“Reggie's one of my favorite young guys in this league,” said Martin, who's now a Timberwolf and had 24 points in his Oklahoma City return. “He's just a young guy who developed into a good player in this league. He goes to work everyday, and he's a great backup to Russ.”
Jackson is not the shooter that Harden or Martin are, but he's a primo driver who can get to the basket and score when he does. Like Harden, Jackson knows angles. He's also much more athletic than either Harden or Martin.
Brooks went with a small lineup to open the fourth quarter — Jackson, Nick Collison, Kevin Durant, Jeremy Lamb and Derek Fisher.
The Timberwolves tried to corral Jackson with defensive specialist Corey Brewer, a big wing, but it didn't work.
Jackson scored on three straight possessions — a 19-foot jumper, a drive and a 3-pointer — to boost the Thunder lead to 91-87. A few minutes later, he scored on back-to-back possessions to pad the lead to 103-90.
“It's just another dimension that they have,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “They can go big and small. That's what makes them a great team. You just have to deal with it.”
And the NBA might just have to deal with the Thunder being back in the sixth-man business.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.