Fratello’s Fantasy Pick

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City ThunderWhen 3X NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook put up a triple-double in a Christmas day thrashing of the Knicks at MSG, Oklahoma City fans surely thought their super-athletic ringleader was close to 100% after two off-season right knee surgeries.

However, just two days later it was announced that Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on that same knee and would be sidelined until the All-Star break.

Into this lead-guard void stepped 6’3”, third-year PG Reggie Jackson.

The Boston College product had performed admirably in the 2013 Playoffs after Westbrook was injured. 23-year-old Jackson played in all 11 postseason contests and started 9 of them. In those 11 games, he averaged 13.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 3.6 apg while shooting 48% from the field and an impressive 90% from the line.

So far in the 2013-14 campaign, Jackson has played in all 43 games and started all 18 since Westbrook’s most recent surgery.

Forced into a very difficult role in the PG-heavy Western Conference, Jackson has made great strides, and his game has matured. “Mr. OKCtober” appears very comfortable at the helm, understanding there are nights when he needs to distribute the ball and nights when he needs to pick up the scoring slack.

In the month of January, Jackson has averaged 16.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.7 rpg and 1.7 spg in 32.7 mpg. He has season highs of 27 points (2X), 8 dimes (2X), 7 boards (4X) and 6 steals.

OKC’s Reggie Jackson might not be the straw that stirs the Thunder’s drink like the former NY Yankee, but he is a valuable asset on a championship-driven squad. Jackson has earned Coach Scott Brooks’ confidence, and he will continue to build on the experience he’s gained and the assurance he’s developed. So even after Jackson is relegated back to the pine once Westbrook returns, look for this up-and-comer to continue to get 25-30 minutes of action a night.

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