Can Jackson replace Westbrook?
Examining whether OKC's backup PG can step up in Westbrook's absence
When news broke that Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook had suffered a torn meniscus, the basketball world came to a screeching halt. For many, Oklahoma City represented the best challenger to a Miami Heat title repeat, and the loss of Westbrook is a significant blow to those efforts.
He has been arguably the most durable player in basketball over the past 10 years, as he's never missed a single game in his professional, collegiate or high school career. Now the Thunder have to figure out how to continue without him.
Most of the speculation surrounding the Thunder has centered around what Kevin Durant needs to do to compensate for Westbrook's absence, as well as second-guessing the trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets. But what of the understudy, the man who is set to replace Westbrook in the lineup at point guard, Reggie Jackson?
Aside from his Hall of Fame baseball namesake, Jackson is very much an unknown quantity to the casual fan. He played at Boston College and didn't get a whole lot of national exposure. He suffered a knee injury shortly before the Chicago pre-draft combine, and was shut down from working out for any teams, which added another layer of unknown to Jackson's situation. Then, after being drafted by Oklahoma City in the first round (24th overall) in 2011, Jackson of course played sparingly in his rookie season as Westbrook ate up the lion's share of minutes at point guard.
I scouted Jackson on film extensively in 2011, while preparing for the draft with the Phoenix Suns. Here's a primer:
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