2018-2019 POP Preview: Jose Calderon Provides Depth at the Most Important Position
Perhaps the most important position on the Pistons is the backup point guard spot. Reggie Jackson’s wavering health is something that will be monitored all season, regardless of if he is playing or not. Detroit let Dwight Buycks go this offseason, freeing up a spot as one of Jackson’s backups. They already have Ish Smith and maybe rookie Bruce Brown (though it is not Brown’s natural position). Adding to the fold is journeyman veteran Jose Calderon and, while not flashy, is a serviceable backup.
Last year, Calderon spent his season with the Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers (I will hammer this as much as possible). Here is a quick look at the numbers he put up:
• Appeared in 57 games, starting 32 of them
• Per game averages of 4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists
• Shot 50.3 percent from the floor, including 46.4 percent from three-point land
Yeah, not very impressive. But what do you expect from a now 37-year-old playing perhaps the most important position in basketball? Calderon was a saving grace at times last season for the Cavaliers, who spent all season and the playoffs searching for a formidable replacement for Kyrie Irving. Out of all of the point guards that suited up as a starter for Cleveland last season, Calderon was perhaps (gulp) the most consistent. Derrick Rose fizzled and ghosted the team, Isaiah Thomas was a shell of his former MVP self, and George Hill was wildly inconsistent both defensively and shooting. Calderon brought a fleeting semblance of stability.
And that may be incredibly necessary at times for the Pistons. Reggie Jackson is at high-risk for an injury. Knees and ankles are not to be trifled with and often times flair up. Ish Smith will and should play ahead of Calderon. Bruce Brown may take over as the third (or even second) point guard, but there is no guarantee he will even be able to handle the position. That is where Jose Calderon comes in. Some stability when you need it most.
There will be nothing flashy about Calderon, aside for the bizarre revenge game like he had last season against the Toronto Raptors. He is a turnstile on defense. He is not atheltic. But he does shoot the ball well still and is an admirable leader on the floor and in the locker room. There is a reason his career has lasted this long. Ideally, the Pistons will not have to use Calderon. But if they do, it will not be the end of the world.
(Featured image by Sergio Estrade/USA Today Sports)