Oklahoma City Thunder: Reggie Jackson Showing Potential as Backup Point Guard

Trey HunterContributor IIIJanuary 10, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Reggie Jackson #15 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a rebound over Greg Smith #4 of the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on December 29, 2012 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City Thunder are apparently transitioning at the backup point guard spot from Eric Maynor to Reggie Jackson

Scott Brooks and Sam Presti haven't determined Reggie Jackson to be the backup to Russell Westbrook for the rest of the season, but it has been his spot for the past 10 games. Since the Thunder's win over the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 19, Jackson has averaged more minutes than Maynor in every contest. 

It could be that Brooks decided to give Maynor the first 25 games to show what he could do and now it's Jackson's turn. Or Brooks may not have seen what he wanted out of Maynor and has now turned the reins over to Jackson. Either way, Jackson is the backup right now and Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman wrote on Dec. 26 that Scott Brooks won't specify why Jackson has taken the role

Before Maynor's ACL tear last season, there was never any doubt who Oklahoma City's backup point guard was. Jackson was just a project back then. Just another Sam Presti prospect.

Now the tide has turned and Jackson has proved over the last 10 games that he's deserving of the role.

Since Dec. 20 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jackson has averaged 6.8 points per game, which is more than double his career average of three points per game. He's also shooting 41 percent from the field, which is much better than his career 35 percent.

You can almost see his confidence growing each game too.

He's no longer tentative about taking an open pull-up jumper and he's not afraid to thread the needle on a dime to Westbrook or Kevin Durant. He's showing signs of maturity and no longer looks lost on the court.

 

Jackson has also shown why the Thunder grabbed him with the 24th pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He possesses a long, athletic frame and his potential defensively could be his biggest asset. Scott Brooks preaches defense to his team and cares more about defending than scoring. This could be why Jackson has worked more with the second unit.

One argument for Maynor is his experience. He played a significant role against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference playoffs when Oklahoma City took the eventual champion to six games in the first round. He asserted himself from that day forward as the team's backup point guard. 

However, Maynor's injury a year ago allowed Jackson to earn significant minutes and learn on the fly. Although he wasn't much of a factor in the playoffs last season, he proved he can play the role and it has shown the past three weeks as well.

Of course, as with most 22-year-olds the maturing process has only just begun. Brooks threw Jackson into the fire last season and it's paying dividends now. The potential is there and now he's showing why he could lock up the role as Westbrook's backup in Oklahoma City.   

(All Stats prior to Jan. 9 provided via ESPN.com)