Going into next season, the Oklahoma City Thunder may have a James Harden-esque situation on their hands: Reggie Jackson now wants to be a starter.
“I’d like to be a starter. I’m not going to lie,” said Jackson during his exit interview for the 2013-14 season.
In the last few years, the two point guard lineups have become quite the staple in the NBA, displayed most by the Phoenix Suns who started both Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe last season. With the ability to play both positions, Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook could do the same if Scott Brooks chooses to especially with Thabo Sefalosha and Caron Butler being unrestricted free agent going into the summer. Some may suggest Jeremy Lamb for the starting shooting guard position, but Lamb has yet to show he’s starter material unlike Jackson.
In Westbrook’s absence during the regular season, Jackson started 36 games, averaging 14.1 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. Against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals, Jackson started in the final four games at shooting guard where he averaged 12.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists.
In the playoffs, Westbrook and Jackson played a total of 350 minutes on the court together. In that time, the team posted an offensive rating of 113.8 and a net rating of 8.3. It allowed the Thunder to attack with multiple ball-handlers similar to the Westbrook-Harden lineups Brooks used to play, giving their lineup another dimension and a third guy to attack the defense.
All-in-all, the decision for Jackson to start in OKC will all come down to Scott Brooks who isn’t sure what the future holds at the Thunder’s shooting guard position.
“Don’t know,” Brooks said. “It’s so early.”