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Thunder: OKC has more pressing issues than Reggie Jackson as No. 2 point guard

Reserve point guards can help you win a game or a series, as we saw last season with former Dallas lightening bolt J.J. Barrea. For now, the Thunder must cut down on turnovers and improve half-court offense and defensive rebounding.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 12, 2012
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/articleid/3648521/1/pictures/1638424">Photo - Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) dribbles the ball near Cole Aldrich (45) during the NBA basketball game between the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Oklahoma City won, 99-79. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) dribbles the ball near Cole Aldrich (45) during the NBA basketball game between the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Oklahoma City won, 99-79. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

That suggests Jackson's minutes now won't make or break the Thunder, although there has been clear drop off in the team's bench play since Manyor was lost.

According to 82games.com, the opening-night second unit of Maynor, Harden, Daequan Cook, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed played 61.7 minutes. That unit scored 1.29 points per possession, gave up 1.03 points per possession and had an overall plus-minus of plus-23. Overall, that unit outscored its opponents four out of seven times when on the court.

By comparison, the current second unit of Jackson, Harden, Cook, Collison and Mohammed has played 64.8 minutes. That unit has scored 1.11 points per possession, given up 1.04 points per possession and has a plus-minus of plus-3. Overall, the current B Team has outscored its opponents only three out of nine times.

Some of that difference can be attributed to the adjustment period of inserting Jackson, the Thunder playing better opponents recently and the team's growing dependence on the two-man game with Harden and Collison, which has stymied the second string at times with more predictable offense.

Those are enough reasons to believe the Thunder will be OK with Jackson.

Additionally, it's important to remember that Jackson is learning on the fly. Summer league was canceled. Training camp was cut short, and Jackson missed most of what was left because of injuries. The compacted schedule has all but obliterated practice time. And Jackson has appeared in just 21 games — only 18 of which were still meaningful by the time he checked in — for a total of 238 minutes.

The areas in which we've seen Jackson struggle, most notably combating pressure while bringing the ball up, getting into sets quickly and defending isolations, certainly will improve. We can be sure because we've seen this show before.

It wasn't long ago that all the hand-wringing was over the same issues with Westbrook and Manyor.

And most would say they turned out pretty good.

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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