How are the Thunder Dealing with the Loss of Eric Maynor?

Get well soon Eric Maynor.

It has been less than a month since backup point guard Eric Maynor tore his ACL.  Maynor’s thrust rookie Reggie Jackson into the role behind Westbrook.  Maynor was arguably the best backup point guard in the league (and if you argue with me you will lose).  This is a lot of pressure to run the second unit on a team with championship aspirations, but this is exactly why the Thunder took Jackson with the 24th pick in last year’s draft.  Now Jackson only has 19 games in the NBA, and only 10 since Maynor tore his ACL. Is that a terrible sample size to determine how a player is doing after being forced into a role he might not have been ready for? Absolutely. Am I going to do it anyways? Sure why not.

It is important to remember that Maynor and Jackson are different types of point guards. Maynor was a true point, he maintained pace, and his best skill was setting up teammates. Jackson is more of an athletic, score first point guard.  It is challenging to compare two different styles of players because they will each do some things better, and some things worse in the same situation. I am going to present a few different stats to try to best see how Jackson is doing with his new teammates.

Check out the individual stats.

Per 36 Min FG% TS% AST TOV STL
Maynor 41% 48% 7.3 2.4 1.1
Jackson 30% 40% 4 3.1 2.6

You can see it’s quite obvious that Jackson is struggling to find his shot early in the season.  I really believe that we will see that FG% finish at about 35-36% for the season, which is still nothing to write home about.  Jackson assist to turnovers should get slightly better with fewer turnovers as the season goes along, but he still won’t approach what Maynor’s stats show.  The one positive is the steals for Jackson.  Jackson is a freak athlete who stands at 6’3’’ and has a full 7’ wingspan. He has really been relying on this natural talent and athleticism so far.  Below we can see that in his shot selection.

Shot locations

Per 40 min Rim <10Ft 10-15Ft 16-23FT 3PT
Maynor 1.5 1.5 1.2 2.3 5
Jackson 3.2 1.1 .5 3.2 5.3

You can see that Jackson is getting to the rim more than Maynor with his natural abilities. What would be even better is if Jackson wasn’t shooting 25% at the rim. This is why I believe his FG% will rise a few percent before the end of the season.  It has to be impossible for a NBA point guard to shoot 25% on layups all season right?

Backup unit

Total mins eFG eFGA Off PPP Def PPP Reb%
Maynor 51% 45% 1.29 1.03 48%
Jackson 48% 44% 1.11 1.04 45%

This is how each player leads the backup unit of Harden, Cook, Collision, and Mohammed.  Here is where the difference between Maynor and Jackson really stands out.  Bottom line it doesn’t matter how you score, it just matters you are scoring more than your opponent.  You can see that without Maynor, the offense is down .18 points per possession. That might not seem like much, but it’s a 14% drop off on the offensive end.  The defense is basically unchanged, even with Jackson’s added steals.

While the difference between Jackson and Maynor is pretty apparent, it is not to say Jackson is a bust or can’t work with this team going forward.  Don’t forget he is still an NBA baby, and will continue to improve and grow a lot over the next couple seasons. That being said, he is no Eric Maynor.

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Tags: Eric Maynor Reggie Jackson Thunder

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