Oklahoma City Thunder first-rounder Reggie Jackson was one of the more interesting storylines and a man of mystery throughout the 2011 draft process.
After suffering a slight knee injury before the Chicago pre-draft combine, the 6-foot-3, 208-pound Jackson canceled most of his workouts and was rumored to have been given a draft “promise.”
It was not a question of whether Jackson had received a draft promise from a team, but rather which team had given it to the promising guard.
Portland, Boston, Oklahoma City, New Jersey and Miami were all rumored to be in the mix for the former Boston College player, but it was never clear (and, other than the Thunder, probably never will be) which teams were legitimately linked to Jackson or whether his up-and-down draft stock was a product of the injury suffered before the pre-draft process.
Regardless, Jackson admitted recently to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman that it may have been the speculation that ultimately helped him land in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft and with Oklahoma City.
“The speculation helped me, I guess, in getting drafted where I was,” Jackson said in a telephone interview.
“I understand this whole promise thing and (the way) everybody looks at it. But draft night is crazy. If everybody knew the draft (beforehand) I don’t think people would show up to New York to watch it. I don’t think people would tune in to watch it…I had no idea where I was going just like the next guy.”
Jackson’s situation is interesting because it is one of those cases where the speculation benefited the player.
Time and time again we see players ride the hype wave and rumors of promises running amuck throughout the process, only to watch the player slide well outside of his perceived range or landing spot come draft day.
Case in point being fellow 2011 draft pick Davis Bertans.
The talented forward out of Latvia, was thought to have remained in the draft because he had been guaranteed a spot in the first round. However, when the dust had settled, Bertans found himself in the middle of the second round before he was scooped up by the Indiana Pacers with the 42nd overall selection. (Bertans was ultimately included in the package that sent San Antonio’s George Hill to Indiana for the draft rights to the 15th overall pick, Kawhi Leonard.)
It’s a cautionary tale that works out for some and not for others, but at the end of the day, that is the nature of the yearly draft beast.
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© 2011 Neal J. Leitereg — All Rights Reserved