POP 2019-2020 Preview: Reggie Jackson Will Take A Step Back

Image: Aaron Gash/Associated Press

Detroit Pistons starting point guard Reggie Jackson is poised for a healthy 2019-20, but will take a dip in his production. After being healthy for the 2018-19 season, Jackson had his second-best season in Detroit, putting up averages of 15.4 points, 4.2 assists, and 2.6 assists on 42.1 percent shooting and 36.9 percent from three-point land in 27.9 minutes per game.

A major key to Jackson staying healthy last season was due to Blake Griffin having the ball in his hands more and taking some pressure off of Jackson, leading to his lowest usage rate as a Piston at 24.5 percent.

With the addition of Derrick Rose this season, I thoroughly expect some of Jackson’s workload to decrease. Although that means that Jackson should theoretically stay healthy, I think that we could see a dip in his production, which we have already seen so far in the preseason.

In three preseason games, Jackson has been far from stellar averaging only 11 points and 3.7 assists on 32.4 percent shooting from the floor and 29.4 percent from three. 

What has been noticeable in the preseason so far is that the majority of Reggie’s sloppy play is coming in the first half of games. On Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jackson could not get the ball to drop in the first half, going only 1-5 from the floor for five points. However, in the second half, Jackson came to play going 5-9 from the field for 10 points, including some clutch shots when the Pistons were down 19 in the third quarter.

Although Jackson has found ways to turn his game around in the second half of preseason games, one thing that I have noticed is that Jackson is not the primary ball-handler or playmaker in key, late-game situations. In the preseason, coach Dwane Casey has run lineups where both Jackson and Rose are on the floor together. These two could be seen on the court together more often, according to Rod Beard, as Casey likes how Rose can create buckets for himself, something Jackson doesn’t excel at.

With not only the addition of Rose, but the offensive improvement of Bruce Brown that has been seen in the preseason as well, I believe that Jackson’s stats will take a step back this year, but his efficiency will increase.

After having a player efficiency rating of 15.2 last season (NBA average is 15), I expect Jackson’s PER to jump up to around 19, like it was in his first season and a half in Detroit. This expectation comes from the fact that Jackson should have more wide-open looks this year due in part to the playmaking abilities of Rose, Brown and Blake Griffin.

Looking 100 percent healthy again, I expect Jackson to have a good year, but have a lower scoring average on more efficient shooting. If I had to make an educated guess at what RJax will do this season, I would say he averages 14 points, four assists and two rebounds a game on 45 percent shooting from the floor and 38 percent from three.

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