There are always positives to take out of a bad and negative situation. Oklahoma City beginning their off season a tad bit early was heartbreaking, and hard to take in.
But when you sit down and just think about how the playoff run helped the Thunder long-term. One thing comes to mind: Reggie Jackson.
Sam Presti always talk about the words growth, development, process, maturity and youth. And that is what Jackson has done. He was drafted in 2011 with the 24th pick out of Boston College, and many questioned: Why another PG? What is Sam Presti doing?
But, in the end, it all worked out. Maynor went down with the ACL injury, and Jackson had to step up. He didn’t. Jackson turned the ball over too much, played at a bad pace, and just didn’t fit in with Harden and the second unit. The Thunder brought in Derek Fisher before the playoffs, and he produced. Jackson played in the summer league in Orlando with Mark Bryant, and just looked like a whole new PG. He looks mature on the floor, and basically ran that summer league team, and what do you know, this year the Thunder dealt Maynor at the deadline to Portland, Westbrook went down in the opening round of the playoffs, and it was Jackson’s opportunity again.
This time, the kid just took the opportunity to heart and didn’t look back.
During the season, he only averaged 5.3 points a game, in about 14 minutes of time on the floor a game. When he was given the chance to play big time minutes with Westbrook out, Jackson exploded on the scene. 14 points a game to go along with a solid five rebounds and a good four assists in 33.5 minutes a game. But, the stat that really jumps out at me is that he shot 47.9 percent in 11 games.
Jackson did all he could. Jackson showed all the things Presti talks about with his amazing growth. I would even but him in the contention as one of the best back-up point guards in the NBA right now along side Norris Cole, Andre Miller and Eric Bledsoe.
And for what’s next? Jackson seems excited. Real excited.
“I’m ready to flash forward to camp right now,” he said.