David Thorpe of ESPN continues to go through all of the ways for a team to beat the Miami Heat.
Today, he focuses on future stars with potential to give the Heat trouble and unconventional schemes.
The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly don’t fit into the latter, but in terms of having a future star, Thorpe is really high on one Thunder reserve.
So which contenders have similar players? In Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the top perimeter duo in the league. Despite losing James Harden and Kevin Martin in successive years, Reggie Jackson could fill that void. He can be an incredible pain to Miami as a ball-dominant point guard who is very tough to defend — if he is making perimeter shots. Next to Durant and Westbrook, Miami will have trouble finding someone who can slow down Jackson’s attacking game. Jackson is a starting-level talent who won’t get big minutes in the regular season but could against the Heat.
It’s clear Thorpe has been watching the Thunder closely and saw what Jackson was capable of in the playoffs.
Jackson was just fantastic last year and I went from feeling like it was a waste when he was on the floor his rookie season, to being very excited to see him in action last season.
The “starting-level” talent Thorpe says Jackson has definitely feels accurate. Jackson is a great athlete, is capable of dunking on people and with super long arms and quickness to make him a force on defense as well.
I expect Jackson to be the Thunder’s sixth man next season and close out games when the Thunder go small. If this can evolve into Jackson being the primary ball handler at times at the end of games, like how James Harden was a few years ago, it could be a huge development since Westbrook and Durant are both great off the ball.
The Thunder need someone to step up next season and it’s not just us fans that see Jackson as that guy. Even the experts do. Let’s hope Thorpe is right here.