Reggie Jackson entered the fourth quarter Tuesday against the Pistons with 12 points. He finished with 35, an Orlando Summer League record. And the Thunder won whatever to whatever to improve to 3-0 so far this week.
- REGINALD. He scored or assisted on 26 of OKC’s final 28 points. He went 7-7 in the fourth for 23 points and an assist. At one point he scored 18 straight. And here’s the best part of it: He did most of his damage with the jumper. That’s been the top thing holding him back from really exploding as an offensive player. He can get to the rim and he can finish. But he’s needed to find a mid-range or perimeter jumper to keep defenders honest, and punish them when the favor his drive. Once he splashed his first 3, it was on. He started attacking with complete confidence and just kept going and going and going. It’s Summer League, and he was torching Kim English and Peyton Siva, but still, that was something very encouraging to see. As Thunder fans fret about OKC’s bench and who the team didn’t sign this offseason, it’s pretty obvious the Thunder have a potentially special weapon already in Jackson.
- Lost in the shuffle of Jackson’s explosion was that Steven Adams played a nice little ballgame. Early, I was feeling a bit of anxiety about Adams as he looked extremely lost and uncomfortable. But once he started to settle in and find the flow, he made plays where applicable, set good screens, played solid pick-and-roll defenses and for the most part, was where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there. He hit a mid-range jumper, dropped in a little baby hook in the post and had a few putbacks. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes. It seemed to me that Adams lacks aggression, but I think he might just be a bit more composed and controlled. Cole Aldrich, if you’ll remember, was always aggressive, but was mostly just jumping at everything, and often out of position. I would like to see Adams attack the ball more on the boards, instead of just using his size and length to grab the ball when it comes to him. There was one offensive rebound he should’ve grabbed in the first quarter with about nine minutes left that just required him go get it. But he stood flatfooted and it got knocked away from him.
- On Adams in the post: One of the biggest issues he had was dribbling in the post. Late in the first quarter, he used a decent-looking right hand baby hook that was lofted up with nice touch (didn’t drop, but still), but the problem was him taking bumps and maintaining his handle. The easy fix is being quicker with your choice and going quick with what you want to do. With Adams, you can see the wheels turning in his head as he dribbles, trying to sort out what he’s going to do.
- One more thought on Adams: He’s got a pretty good feel in the pick-and-roll as a screener, it appears. He knows how to make his base big and take up a ton of space for the on-ball defender to have to get around. If you watch Jackson’s explosion, a whole lot of that was set up by good screens and good space-taking by Adams. The next step is for him to become an offensive threat in those screen-and-roll situations. Because Perk can screen with the best of them. It’s just that defenses know how to key around the fact Perk isn’t an offensive threat. Adams has to at least worry defenders a little bit, whether it’s with him rolling hard at the rim, or popping for a jumper.
- Andre Roberson is quietly having himself a nice little week. In 24 minutes he had four points and 10 rebounds. His activity to go with his athleticism and length is really impressive. He’s just a painfully raw offensive player outside of the jumping and running.
A few leftovers:
- OK, it’s time to talk about Dwight Buycks. He’s played well in Summer League, which has warranted a ton of questions of “Should the Thunder just sign Buycks?” He’s a nice little player. But there’s a reason he’s bounced around and hasn’t been able to find a consistent roster spot. I like him too. But easy there, guys.
- Sleeves, not bad. That’s all I have to say about them.
- DeAndre Liggins isn’t looking any better. He can’t dribble and he doesn’t know what to do offensively unless he’s cutting to the basket or spotting up in the corner.
- Kendall Gill was a bit overzealous on his comparisons. Tony Mitchell to Dennis Rodman, Andre Drummond to Hakeem Olajuwon, Jackson’s fourth quarter to LeBron’s against the Pistons in 2007.
- Both Jeremy Lamb and Daniel Orton sat today. Lamb was just resting, Orton was out with a mild concussion.