The Oklahoma City Thunder lost a key piece to its team when backup point guard Eric Maynor went down with a knee injury over the weekend, but the team may be in capable hands with rookie guard Reggie Jackson.
Maynor tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against the Houston Rockets, the second of three straight games for the Thunder. The Thunder has several options for his replacement, but head coach Scott Brooks has decided to give Jackson a shot at the role.
In 23 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Jackson filled the backup floor general spot admirably, scoring 11 points and getting four assists in 23 minutes in the 108-96 win.
"Reggie was good [Sunday night]," Brooks said. "But I thought everyone else was just as good."
Depth will be incredibly important this season for all teams, Oklahoma City included. The Thunder has been utilizing a ten-deep rotation, and Maynor played a crucial role in stabilizing the second-team and running the offense.
Jackson was not a part of that rotation, having only appeared in two of the previous nine games this season, playing four minutes against Houston on January 6 and six minutes in January 2's loss to Dallas.
The first-year player will have to learn quickly, because he has been thrust from being an unused reserve to a key piece on a team heavily favored to reach the NBA Finals.
Maynor's injury may serve as something of a rallying point for the Thunder the remainder of the season. Backup shooting guard James Harden said that the rest of the season is for the fallen point guard.
Harden himself could find himself playing more point guard in Maynor's absence. Harden has proven himself to be a reliable ball-handler and adept passer when he is called on to run the offense.
The Thunder won all three games over the last three days, two against Houston and one against San Antonio.
Up next for the Thunder is a two-game road trip beginning tonight after having Monday off at Memphis, which will be playing without power forward Zach Randolph.
The Thunder will then travel to New Orleans to face the Hornets on Wednesday.
Oklahoma City beat Memphis earlier this season, a 98-95 road victory on December 28. Kevin Durant scored 32 points in the win.