Reggie Jackson Is The Answer At Shooting Guard


For the first time since the 2008, the Oklahoma City Thunder is in search of a new shooting guard.  Thabo Sefolosha will no longer be occupying that spot because he is due $12 million over the next four years for the Atlanta Hawks.  With Sefolosha gone, it is time for Scott Brooks to do something he was never willing to do when James Harden was in Oklahoma City, and that is put your best talent on the floor. If Brooks were to do this, which I think he should, Reggie Jackson should get the nod at shooting guard.

Sefolosha was dealt to the Hawks in a sign-and-trade that gave the Thunder a $4 million trade exception. A lot of Thunder fans are not to sad to see Sefolosha go, because he shot a career low 41 percent from the field this season. However, Sefolosha had his moments offensively for the Thunder over the last five years, and his defensive production will be tough to replace. But it was evident in the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs, where Sefolosha was benched after game 2, that the Thunder would be better off moving on with Jackson at shooting guard. 

In the 2013-2014 Regular Season, Jackson averaged 13 points per game, to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Most importantly, last year Jackson was able to increase his three-point percentage from 23.1 percent to 33.9 percent. You should expect another big jump for Jackson’s perimeter shooting percentages, after what he told Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman.

“I want to shoot 40 percent or higher. I’m actually aiming for 50. So hopefully that will put me at 40 percent plus.” Jackson told Mayberry.

In the same article, Jackson makes it clear he wants to start. The article has a lot of good stuff from Reggie Jackson, and you can read it here if you like.

In the article, Jackson also makes it very, very clear he absolutely wants to be a starter.

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“But since the day I thought about playing in the NBA, I’ve always been a starter. Everything I’ve thought about, whether it be middle school, high school, kids leagues, I never envisioned coming off the bench. When you think about playing basketball, you see the first five guys get on the floor, and that’s something I’ve always prided myself on being,” Jackson told Mayberry.

Even if Jackson’s shooting doesn’t progress like he wants, he still has the ability to take a lot of pressure off of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Jackson will give the starting lineup somebody else who can handle the ball. Jackson’s biggest attribute is his slashing ability, and with defenders not wanting to help off of Westbrook, Durant and Serge Ibaka, Jackson should have plenty of room to operate.

Jackson already proved last season him and Westbrook could play together effectively. Jackson started at shooting guard after the Thunder found themselves down 2-0 against the Spurs. They beat the Spurs handily in games 3 and 4 before eventually losing the series. Jackson had a good series playing alongside Westbrook, even after injuring his ankle in game 4.

However, Jackson showed more than just chemistry with the starters. Jackson showed that he can take over a game if he needs to, the prime example of that being Game 4 at Memphis in the first round.

Starting Jackson does make the Thunder small in the backcourt, but I don’t see this being a huge problem. Jackson is just 6’3″, but he has a 7’0″ wingspan, which is absolutely unheard of for somebody his size. To give you an idea, the average wingspan for small forwards at the 2014 NBA Draft Combine was 6’11.1.” Jackson is not the best off the ball defender due to his occasional mental lapses, but he has all of the physical tools to be a fantastic defender.

Then you have Westbrook, who when he is dialed in, causes absolute chaos on the defensive end. Being asked to guard shooting guards may actually be a good thing for Westbrook. A lot of people would probably be skeptical that Westbrook could do this on a nightly basis. But, can you imagine Westbrook with even more motivation? The man already plays like his jersey is on fire. But, before we act like this is a huge challenge for Westbrook, remember, shooting guard is arguably the weakest position in the NBA right now. If you compare the top shooting guards to the top point guards, I think an argument could be made that Westbrook may actually be getting the easier assignment, but you can be the judge.

Top Five Shooting Guards

1. James Harden

2. Dwayne Wade

3. Lance Stephenson

4. Klay Thompson

5. DeMar DeRozan.

Top 5 Point Guards (excluding Westbrook)

1. Chris Paul

2. Stephen Curry

3. Damian Lillard

4. Kyrie Irving

5. Derrick Rose

One concern I have seen around the Internet is this; “Our bench would take a huge hit if Jackson starts.” That is not necessarily true. Scott Brooks could just stagger his lineups a bit, meaning he could start Jackson, but take him out fairly early in the first and third quarters so Jackson would play a lot of minutes with the bench. This would get Jackson the starting role he so desperately covets while allowing him to still run the show and be the go-to-guy with the Thunder’s bench unit.

The way I see it, there are too many good reasons to start Reggie Jackson to not pull the trigger. The Thunder need to put as much playmaking on the floor as they possibly can, and Jackson is the third best playmaker behind Durant and Westbrook. Also, Jackson is a restricted free agent this year, and in my opinion, it is very important that the Thunder keep Jackson. Jackson has made it clear over the last six months that he wants to be a starter in the NBA. So why not put him into the starting lineup? He is the best player the Thunder have who isn’t already starting, and it be a huge help in contract negotiations if Jackson knows the Thunder look at him as a long term starter.