Prior to last year, I remember shaking my head in disappointment whenever Reggie Jackson entered the game. He was young and had no direction as a player, and the team had no direction for him as well. He would get playing time when the Oklahoma City Thunder had big leads, but he would struggle to get comfortable on the court. Now things have changed, and Jackson has become one of the most improved players since his days as a bench-rider.
On the season, Jackson is averaging nearly 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Still, his numbers do not do him justice. You have to watch him play to understand just how good he has become. In his last game he scored a career-high 27 points on just 13 shot attempts. He is a valuable scoring option off the bench as well as when he has to fill in for Russell Westbrook as the starting point-guard.
One day, I believe Jackson has the chance to be an All-Star in this league. The Thunder may have to part ways with him if that happens, but he still has that All-Star potential coming off the bench. He is dedicated to becoming a better player, and it has helped him grow into the aggressive scorer he is today. He may average around four assists, but he has is not pass-first type of player. That will come later in his career. Still, he is at his best with the ball in his hands, penetrating the lane and putting pressure on opposing defenses.
It will be fun to watch him improve through the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. The more time he gets on the floor, the better he will be to start the season next year. He reminds me a lot of the guy he’s replacing. Westbrook caught fire out of nowhere, becoming one of the most dominant scorers in the league. Jackson’s journey to becoming one of the best point-guards in the NBA could end up being very similar to Westbrook’s – who was not seen as a scorer coming into the league.
Give it a few years, but I see Jackson being an All-Star sooner than later. He is a remarkable talent and his production on the court leads to wins for OKC. He has handled the pressure extremely well, so we know he has the mindset to do whatever he pleases. As long as he believes he can be one of the best point-guards then he will reach that point. Jackson and the Thunder are on the road against the Utah Jazz tonight where his growth will be on display for fans worldwide to admire.