Reggie Jackson's Play Will Decide Fate of Thunder's 2013-14 Title Run
Many eyes will be on Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson in the 2013-14 season.
In Game 2 of the Thunder's first-round matchup with the Houston Rockets, Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook came up limping after avoiding a steal attempt (after a called timeout) from Patrick Beverley.
Despite playing the rest of Game 2, news broke the following day that Westbrook had torn his lateral meniscus in his right knee and would miss the remainder of the playoffs.
Then there came Reggie Jackson.
We witnessed a small sample of Jackson's ability last postseason when he filled in for injured Westbrook, and he certainly rose to the occasion.
Per ESPN.com, Jackson averaged 13.9 points on 47 percent shooting, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in the Thunder's playoff run.
Jackson, 23, showed composure beyond his years when he was thrown in the trenches during the playoffs. He was given the task of filling the void of Westbrook at a crucial point in the season and shocked many with a display of great explosiveness and athleticism.
According to Royce Young on dailythunder.com, Jackson's play in last year's playoffs exploited a new weapon for Scott Brooks and the Thunder moving forward.
It was obvious in the postseason how good Jackson already is, and how good he can still be. He’s the type of player that can get to the rim almost at will, and he’s a splendid finisher. Where he needs to improve is with his jumper, specifically in the pull-up game. If that comes, along with a little playmaking, the Thunder have a serious bench piece and a potential secret weapon to use next to Westbrook.
With high expectations coming into the 2013-14 season, Jackson is expected to be the Thunder's sixth man and share time with Westbrook commanding the Thunder offense.
The Thunder has had the convenience of having an elite scorer coming off the bench in the past few years in players like James Harden and Kevin Martin. With their departure, Jackson will now be the man to step in and contribute solid minutes in games.
It certainly is a lot of pressure for a 23-year-old to perform at a consistent, high level for a team with a goal of winning an NBA title. But Jackson is up to the challenge.
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