POP Season Preview: Reggie Jackson is Crucial to the Pistons Success
Reggie Jackson is the leader of the Detroit Pistons. Stan Van Gundy invested in Jackson and in his first full season as a Piston, Jackson showcased why Van Gundy would do such a thing. When Jackson signed a 5-year $80 million contract extension with the Pistons, the critics were out on him. Not many people believed that a player like Jackson was worth the money he got. Once the season came along Jackson quickly proved those critics wrong.
In his first full season with the Pistons, Jackson still was the leader of the group. He was the only member of the starting five, besides Ersan Ilyasova in the first half of the season, that had any playoff experience. Jackson put together a great year, filled with many marquee performances. He had 40 points against the Portland Trail Blazers in a fourth quarter comeback by the Pistons to shock Damian Lillard and Portland. Then he had 39 points and 9 assists against the Washington Wizards late in the season to not only clinch a playoff spot for Detroit, but eliminate the Wizards from playoff contention. Jackson finished the season averaging 18.8 points and 6.2 assists per game. He shot a solid 35.3% from the three-point line, much improved from his 29.9% three-point shooting in the 2014-2015 season. His improved shooting, much like Tobias Harris’, was crucial in Detroit’s growth to becoming in a playoff team. He was a fringe all-star when All-Star Weekend came around, but Isaiah Thomas was selected ahead of him to make the team.
Reggie Jackson has his flaws. He is still an inconsistent shooter, his defensive struggles really hurt Detroit in the playoffs, as they became magnified there, and can’t stay on the floor long enough for a starter, he only played 30.7 minutes per game last season. The good thing is, Jackson has had an entire offseason to work on those issues. He spent the offseason working with Ish Smith on their shooting, specifically their three-point shooting. His defense will never be great, but he has a long wingspan and is quick so he has potential to improve on that side of the ball. Regarding his lack of minutes, there were reports about that being because of some asthma type sickness, but even with that Jackson should be able to play another minute or two per game with the right mix of conditioning and health monitoring of his asthma.
There is reason to believe Jackson’s second full year with the Pistons will be his best. He’s a magician on offense. He has an improving three-point shot, a deadly floater, and is a solid passer. Last season it was well documented how important he was to the Pistons heavy pick and roll offense, and that isn’t changing this upcoming season. Without Jackson running that pick and roll, the Pistons were much less effective as a team last season. When Jackson was off the floor the Pistons automatically got worse.
With Jackson as the Pistons floor general, Detroit is in good hands. This upcoming year will be a big testament to how good Jackson can be for a team looking to take the next step.
Featured image via: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports