The Oklahoma City Thunder are going to rely on a lot of their young core players to step up in the 2012-13 season by the looks of the roster moves the team has made so far this offseason. Gone are steady veterans like Derek Fisher and Nazr Mohamed. Instead, those names have been replaced by cheaper, younger options who have some intriguing potential but lack the experience of the aforementioned veterans. That's one reason that point guard Reggie Jackson is going to have to take a major step forward.
In recent comments to the Boston Globe, the 2011 first round draft choice spoke about his rookie season as a "roller coaster" with the NBA lockout and the adjustment to the pro level, among other things. But after a solid performance on the summer league roster for the Thunder and another offseason to adjust even more, Jackson says he's ready to make that leap for the team.
When asked about the greatest challenge from his rookie season, Jackson said it was the mental aspect of the game. That was only compounded when back-up point guard Eric Maynor was lost for the season and placed Jackson squarely in the spotlight to earn some important minutes behind Russell Westbrook.
"The biggest thing is mental, I believe," said Jackson. "I was probably as ready mentally as I could be to take on everything - stepping into Eric's shoes and taking criticism and just being able to bounce back. It helped, hopefully, and it will help me throughout next season."
As for next season, Jackson said he's taking care of himself physically and just gearing up for the season ahead now that he's more comfortable with his role.
"I've definitely just been taking care of my body and, since I'm getting older, my muscles are catching up with each other, and I'm stronger all over. I've gained weight, probably 10 pounds from my junior season at BC to my rookie season."