The Thunder capped off their week in Orlando with a 89-75 win over the Jazz to take home a 3-2 record. Quick, everybody to the airport!
But all I saw from this game (after watching on my DVR because come on now, 7 AM?!?) was Reggie Jackson’s outstanding poster of Jeremy Evans. That’s what we want to see, Reggie. More of that, all the time.
Final report card from the week for the Thunder’s roster players and a few other notes:
Reggie Jackson: B+
For the most part, he accomplished what I hoped to see. He played with confidence and asserted himself as the most talented player on the Thunder team. He attacked really well out of the pick-and-roll, used his athleticism at the rim (see above) and took care of the ball. Two things I would’ve liked to see more of: 1) A mid-range pull-up game and 2) a little more playmaking. Jackson didn’t have a game where he really piled up assists, but then again, it’s tough when you’re dishing to, well, not Kevin Durant, James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
I think some growth and development was shown by Jackson though. He didn’t get a Summer League last season because of the lockout and didn’t get a training camp because of an injury. This was his first real crack at just focusing on getting better and I think he’s moved ahead some from the player we saw filling in for Eric Maynor.
Perry Jones III: A-
Because of an ankle sprain, we only got two games out of Jones and while the first game was much better than the second, it was obvious: He’s really, really good.
His versatility is incredible obvious and he just has a smooth flow to his game. Some would see this as being passive, but I think in the right setting, Jones is a blender. He’s a guy that’s going to fit in well beside talented players on the floor. At Baylor, where he was seen more as the go-to guy, he might’ve been a bit uncomfortable with that. But with the Thunder where he most definitely doesn’t need to be any kind of offensive focal point, he can just mesh with the talent around him.
What I was most impressed with was his size though. He’s a very solid 6-11 and he’s extremely built. He was billed as being soft, but from what I saw, he’s most definitely not. He’s a stout guy that knows how to use his body. Twice he just moved people out of his way to finish in the paint.
I don’t know what Jones’ future will hold with the Thunder or if he’ll see any real playing time this season, but for being the 28th pick, the Thunder got something pretty special.
Cole Aldrich: C+
I’ll be honest: I expected much more from Aldrich. With the work I had seen him put in and the improvements he was making, I figured he was ready to look like a fairly dominant player in Summer League against mostly D-League talent.
Instead, he played like a backup center. Which keep in mind, is what his role will (likely) be next season. Lines like Friday’s — four points, six rebounds, one block — were mostly the norm for Aldrich this week and while there wasn’t anything impressive about the way he played, I didn’t come away from watching him thinking, “Those 10 minutes he’s going to play behind Perk, the Thunder are screwed.”
Because again, he’s replacing Nazr Mohammed here. Not Dwight Howard. Or even Kendrick Perkins for that matter. His job will be to rebound misses, put back a few, set screens and mostly, just be big. Like I said, I figured he’d be a bit more impressive. He wasn’t, but it’s Summer League. Things can change for him when he’s playing with Eric Maynor and James Harden instead of Garrett Temple and Dwight Buycks.
He did show a soft touch around the rim, especially on Wednesday, while also demonstrating his ability to impact the game challenging shots. He’s got it in him. It’s just about putting together minute after minute of it.
But I would say this: I’m not so sure the job is so obviously his anymore. Hasheem Thabeet is terrible, but if he has a solid camp and Aldrich remains unimpressive, Scott Brooks might go with the 7-3 guy for those spot minutes instead.
Lazar Hayward: B
He played hard, did some good things, hit some shots, rebounded his position well and scored points. It’s not likely to earn Hayward any real minutes going forward but you can see why he’s a solid player to have on the end of the bench and in the program.
A few other notes:
- Latavious Williams had a nice send-off game with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Eight of those rebounds were offensive too. I just really like his game. To me, he’s an NBA player. Maybe not someone in the rotation, but he’s got too much size, too much motor and too much ability not to be. If he can add a solid pick-and-pop jumper to his game and tighten up a few other areas, the Thunder might have a quality Serge Ibaka replacement down the line if it comes to that.
- Garrett Temple has the looks of someone that can fill it up a little. He’s gotten multiple NBA looks and I thought he might have an inside track to that 15th roster spot when the week started.
- Kind of expected to see a little more from Ryan Reid. He’s a tough, rugged 4 and I figured he’d assert himself well on the glass. He was decent, but nothing overwhelming.
- Hasheem Thabeet didn’t play any this week, but he most definitely sat in that chair not moving. Also, did you see him playing with his iPhone? That thing looked like a credit card in his giant hands.
- Somehow, Kent Bazemore didn’t play a single second this week.