The Reggie Jackson Experiment Needs to be Over
It is more than halfway through the season and the Pistons are sitting outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. If you would have told me this at the beginning of the season, there would have been some disappointment but not really much surprise. If you would’ve told me Blake Griffin was averaging a career-high 26 points throughout the season and 30 points per game in the month of January, and the Pistons were still on the outside looking in, I would’ve spit out my coffee at the screen.
Luke Kennard is gaining confidence. He is coming into his own while coming off the bench but may find himself starting soon if he keeps up his high level of play on a consistent basis. Yes, Andre Drummond and Ish Smith were both out Saturday against the Sacramento Kings but I’m not too sure they would have made a difference given how much Detroit likes to give up second-half leads when they are in the lineup. And yes, Buddy Hield may have doubled dribbled right before he hit his game-winning buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Still, Detroit put themselves in that situation and deserved to lose that game.
For a guy who wanted to be “the guy” and take a team over and lead a team in the playoffs, Reggie Jackson has been the biggest disappointment since Darko Milicic for Detroit. In the Pistons loss to Sacramento, Jackson was 1 for 5 from the field and finished with a meager four points and three assists. At this point, Detroit might want to bring back Dwight Buycks from China or give one of the guys from Grand Rapids a shot because Jackson is contributing nothing to this team.
The major issue with Reggie Jackson for most of his tenure in Detroit was staying healthy only playing more than 60 games once in 2015-2016 playing in 79 games, his best season for the Pistons. Jackson averaged 18.8 points per game and six assists that season helping Detroit reach the playoffs the lone time for SVG. Since that season, Jackson has seen a decline in PPG and assists and is averaging 14.2 ppg playing in 45 of 46 games so far this season. For a player who is making $17 million this season and $18 million next season, there has to be a positive trajectory and it has been a nosedive since Detroit’s last playoff appearance. Detroit has no consistency at the point guard position and it may keep them out of the playoffs.
Smith not being able to stay healthy, as it appears his groin is not fully healed, and Jose Calderon as your back-up option in 2019 is exactly what it sounds like, terrible. I hate to be all doom and gloom but what are the Pistons even trying to accomplish? Jackson has little to no trade value, you won’t get much back for him, but does that even matter for Detroit at this point? On February 7th, the trade deadline is here and if Detroit stands pat then you are probably looking at another end of lottery pick, which Detroit has not had the best luck with in years past.
It may seem like the Pistons are handcuffed right now and that may be true. If it is, they have to find a way to be Houdini and break free or risk being stuck in basketball limbo for the foreseeable future. They made a splash out of nowhere almost a year ago bringing Blake Griffin to Detroit, and to alleviate this team from certain mediocrity, they need to make another bold move.
The problem starts with Reggie and it doesn’t end there. There is plenty wrong with the Pistons, but if somehow, someway Detroit is able to deal him, they would be moving in the right direction. Even if it results in acquiring a younger talent like Dennis Smith Jr suggested here by POP’s Aaron Johnson, breaking up with Reggie Jackson has to be Detroit’s first priority.
Featured image: Raj Mehta – USA TODAY Sports