Jackson a Viable Fantasy Option

I think the obvious Thunder sleeper has to be Reggie Jackson, especially with Russell Westbrook expected to miss at least a month.

He’s set to have a much more substantial role this season, likely moving into the sixth man spot for Oklahoma City.

Jackson will have his opportunities to run the Thunder’s second team, much in the same way James Harden did. Jackson can score, pass and create.

He’s a tremendous rebounding guard with supreme athleticism. In terms of stuffing the statsheet, Jackson could be one of the best to do it in a bench role this season.

The big question is how many minutes he’ll get playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. During the regular season, Jackson played mostly as Westbrook’s backup, logging 14.2 minutes a game, almost all in support.

Late in the year, coach Scott Brooks started seeing the fruits of playing Westbrook and Jackson together in small lineups, as that duo spent 161 minutes on the floor together.

To put it in perspective how little that actually was, the two-man lineup of Perry Jones and Jackson played 221 minutes together last season, DeAndre Liggins and Jackson 198 and Jones and Hasheem Thabeet 178.

But there were real flashes of success with two primary ball-handlers on the floor together, especially in crunchtime where the Thunder offense has a tendency to bog down.

Reggie Jackson doubled his scoring (13.9), rebound (4.9) and assist (3.6) numbers starting in place of Russell Westbrook during the 2013 post season.

I’m not saying Jackson is going to be what James Harden was, but I do think he could be at least similar, in a nuts-and-bolts kind of way.

There is plenty of value for Jackson in fantasy basketball, even when Westbrook makes his return from knee surgery.

In Yahoo! fantasy basketball drafts, Jackson is being selected on average with the 139.6th pick and is only being selected in five percent of all drafts.

A secondary handler/scorer/creator that can spell Westbrook, when he returns, (and Durant) and potentially be the featured player on the second unit.

Jackson proved in the postseason he can not only play, but he can excel when presented an opportunity.

He needs to improve his jumper (something that looked much better in Summer League) and he’s got to get the feel of running a team a bit better, but the Thunder are gambling on Jackson.

They didn’t sign anyone this summer not because they couldn’t, but because they didn’t really want to. They believe in Jackson in that role and think he’ll prove them right for standing pat.

-Royce Young

For more coverage on the Oklahoma City Thunder, be sure to check out  Royce Young and the other great writers at DailyThunder.com. Royce Young is also an NBA Writer for CBSSports.com

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