The general concept the Oklahoma City Thunder have tried to follow in recent years is having a third perimeter scorer next to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, usually coming off the bench. Reggie Jackson seems to be the one that’ll step into those shoes in 2013-2014, hopefully improving enough to help the franchise win the NBA championship.
The role James Harden filled became something Kevin Martin stepped into last season. Martin scored well from the outside, but couldn’t provide the same ball handling presence his predecessor did. In any case, even with his 14 points per game and excellent shooting from the outside (42.6% from beyond the arc), the Thunder lost Westbrook in the first round series against the Rockets and crumbled against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Now it’s up to Reggie Jackson, who emerged as quite the useful player instead of Westbrook a few months ago (averaging 13.9 points per game during the postseason), to be that third perimeter scoring presence the Thunder seem to be convinced they need, only they refused to pay top dollar for when they had the chance to re-sign James Harden’s contract a year ago.
Jackson is actually a pretty good scorer when he attacks the rim off pick & rolls, and is a much better ball handler and potential extra point guard next to Russell Westbrook during crunch time for the Thunder than Kevin Martin ever was. The problem? He isn’t very effective as a jump shooter, making only 23.1% of his three point attempts last season, which kind of beats the point of having a third scorer playing next to Durant and Westbrook.
Jackson can create scoring opportunities for himself, but he isn’t nearly as explosive or someone who demands attention like Harden was for the Thunder when they made the conference finals in 2011 or the NBA finals in 2012. But the Thunder need more than anything someone who will make the shot when Durant and Westbrook get the double teams they can’t beat. Jackson will be counted on to make the shot then.
If the Thunder don’t get out of Jackson what they could from Harden and Martin when it comes to hitting open shots from the perimeter, the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to decline in their ability to position themselves as favorites to win in the West.