2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

NBA: Thunder wise to draft, keep Reggie Jackson

Published: December 18, 2013, 12:32 pm, by Paul Klee



This goes with today’s column on Palmer grad Reggie Jackson, who’s been mighty impressive, if under the radar, the half-dozen times I’ve watched the Thunder this season. The numbers back it up.

Now I would like to see Jackson (above, during Tuesday’s shoot around at Pepsi Center) on a roster where he can become everything he can be, which, I think, is a valuable starter in an NBA backcourt. We’d be hard-pressed to find 25 more gifted lead guards in the NBA. He won’t be a starter in OKC, not with Russell Westbrook in front of him. Westbrook was spectacular against Denver again Tuesday.

Here’s the catch: why would the Thunder allow Jackson to slip away? Judging by their sustained success in the Western Conference, it’s a franchise that places great value in a strong bench and the importance of the role player. As my colleague Matt Wiley pointed out, Jackson’s potential also is probably why the Thunder were OK letting James Harden get away, although I don’t think anyone would suggest that was a wise move. 

Reggie Jackson is their new James Harden, in a way. This isn’t being silly enough to say Colorado’s own is as gifted as Harden, but he’s similarly valuable to the deepest roster in the Western Conference.

For what it’s worth, after seeing the Thunder on Tuesday night, this is the most complete Thunder team I’ve seen roll through Pepsi Center. OKC has it all. This is one of the few teams — probably the only time — I’ve watched the Nuggets over the past decade and felt they were outclassed at every position, one through five. 

The Nuggets are now in a position where they have a bunch of good-to-very-good players…. yet still have an obvious need to upgrade. That’s not easy to do. 

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette