Jackson was moved into the Oklahoma City starting lineup in Game 3 of the first-round series against Houston after Russell Westbrook’s postseason came to an end. But that hasn’t stopped Westbrook from mentoring his former backup.
“I’m definitely talking to Reggie a lot more,” Westbrook said. “But I also want him to learn and get better. You don’t want to tell a guy to go out there and do all these different things. You kind of want him to learn. It’s a learning process for him as well as it is me.”
While Kevin Durant has taken over much of the ball handling duties and directs the offense, especially in the fourth quarter, Westbrook likes what he’s seen from Jackson, who was playing on the franchise’s Developmental League team (Tulsa 66ers) early in the season.
“It’s a huge part,” Westbrook said. “I think the whole process, a lot of people may skip through that. Going to Tulsa, coming back up and playing in different games. Reggie missed half of the year, didn’t play. And then he started playing. I think all of that is a process and you can see it’s helping him out. He never really looked rattle or anything. He’s kind of just smooth and plays his game.”
Jackson will start his seventh game of the postseason Saturday when the Thunder travel today to Memphis. Westbrook has nothing but confidence in Jackson. Not to fill his shoes, but be his own man on the court.
“Reggie’s done a great job of playing his game,” Westbrook said. “He’s been playing with good composure, I think, especially going to Houston and taking care of those games and now getting ready to head to Memphis. I think he’s done a great job of just controlling the game. Obviously KD handles the ball a little more. But I think Reggie’s done a great job of just being consistent and playing his game.”