The OKC Thunder have a young guard named Reggie Jackson (no, not Mr. October). He's not shooting particularly well and he's not exactly racking up the assists either, but they think he can be an impact player for them. So how can he learn on the job while contributing to a contending team? One blogger decided to look at Avery Bradley for inspiration.
Bradley helped his team crush the spirits of Nelson and the Magic because of his baseline to baseline defensive pressure, which materially altered the Magic offense and galvanized his own team's defensive effort.
Back to Jackson. He isn't scoring the ball, he isn't setting up people offensively, and he is struggling to manage the team's offense. What is left? Ask Avery Bradley. It is defensive play. It is play that does not require a single shot attempt, is not hindered by a bad offensive set, and can work against some of the most seasoned veterans. Jackson has a great build for defense. He is low to the floor, quick, strong, and has a freakish seven foot wingspan that enables him to challenge the dribble and get into passing lanes. We know that Brooks doesn't use the full-court press. However, I have to wonder, is there an opportunity there for him to use Reggie and his raw physical tools to have a meaningful impact on the game? To just tell Jackson, "Don't worry about points, assists, or setting up the perfect pick and roll. Just go out there and lock up their PG for 94 feet"? At the very worst, Jackson would slow down the other team for an extra 4-6 seconds, which becomes huge when a team only has 24 seconds to get off a shot.
Not a bad idea.