Reggie Jackson and Pistons Host Wizards

Jan 21, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (15) dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (4) and Wizards guard John Wall (2) defend in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Thunder won 105-103 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (15) dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (4) and Wizards guard John Wall (2) defend in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Thunder won 105-103 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /


  • Teams: Washington Wizards (33-22) at Detroit Pistons (22-33)
  • Date: February 22
  • Time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

Get in the Game

The Detroit Pistons will host the Washington Wizards in a contest that means a little more than usual.

The Pistons were victorious in their most recent contest – versus the Chicago Bulls – despite a shorthanded roster as a result of a trade deadline deal. However, that is a thing of the past with Detroit set to unveil its newest acquisition today against Washington—Reggie Jackson.

Jackson was brought in via a swap with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he couldn’t be happier about it. The Pistons are ecstatic about bringing in someone that stepped in for Russell Westbrook at times and shined.

Jackson’s arrival will give Detroit great reasons for optimism. He’s dynamic and compares favorably from a production standpoint to the Phoenix Suns’ Eric Bledsoe.

It will be interesting to see if Detroit has Jackson share the backcourt next year with Brandon Jennings, but until that happens, let’s focus on the present and short-term future.

The Pistons now have a young core that will grow together and eventually compete for the playoffs going forward. That certainly is great news in Detroit, but Jackson’s acquisition is not without risks.

Kevin Durant was quick to praise Kendrick Perkins on Twitter when word got out that he had been traded to the Utah Jazz, while Jackson’s exit was met with crickets.’s Royce Young wrote a terrific piece illustrating the dynamics at play in OKC and what caused the franchise to sour on Jackson.

Ultimately, Jackson was slightly more concerned about his interests, professionalism be damned. The best illustration came at the start of the season, where Jackson missed the first two games of the campaign due to an ankle injury.

He was cleared to play for the third game but chose to sit according to one of Young’s sources due to disappointment that OKC hadn’t traded him prior to the October 31 extension deadline for first-round picks entering their fourth year.

Young wrote:

"Jackson spoke at shootaround that morning, coyly saying he probably wouldn’t play that night. Immediately after finishing his session, he grabbed a ball and threw down an impressive drop-step windmill dunk — in front of reporters and his teammates. Remember: This was when the Thunder were piecing together a roster without Durant and Westbrook, and only had eight active players available."

Small issues crept up the rest of the way stemming from Jackson’s discontent over his role and sense of value—he’s looking for something in the $15 million range annually.

These details are enough to force one to wonder what kind of player Jackson will be in Detroit. Will he blend in seamlessly now that he got his wish, or will he hinder the team until he actually signs his new deal this offseason (assuming the Pistons agree to terms with him)?

All valid questions, and Jackson’s actions will answer them sooner or later. Until they do, fans can take him at his words.

“Coming here, this is such a weight off my shoulders, a new beginning,” Jackson told Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday. “To come play with a new group of guys, to start to change this perception of me, I can’t wait to get to the arena tonight and meet them all.”

It’s a fresh start for Jackson, and it should afford him an opportunity to showcase his talent. He’s a score-first guard with a penchant for beating defenders off the dribble. He isn’t the most gifted ballhandler, but he gets to places and creates odd scoring angles for himself.

He’s also a willing playmaker, a fact that should widen Andre Drummond’s eyes. Jackson isn’t in Chris Paul’s realm as a passer, but I can surely see him finding Drummond for lobs in the same manner that Paul hits DeAndre Jordan out of the pick-and-roll.

The one area I’m most intrigued in watching Jackson with Detroit is off the ball. In OKC, he operated as such at times mostly as a product of the roster. Westbrook and Durant got the bulk of the touches, and Jackson had to occasionally rely on his teammates to set him up for scores.

With the Pistons, he will get the majority of the perimeter touches, and there won’t be many players capable of creating for him. Still, there will be times where Jackson will have to navigate in such settings when Greg Monroe or Drummond get post-up opportunities.

Monroe is a skilled passer, and he will be able to find Jackson whenever he cuts to the hoop, but the guard still has to be willing to move off the ball. That might be a challenge in his first few months with the Pistons as he gets acclimated to his teammates.

Make no mistake, Jackson will thrive in Detroit. It’ll take head coach Stan Van Gundy a few weeks to figure out the best way to utilize his new player, and once he does, teams will have a hard time limiting Jackson’s penetrations.

While assessing the trade deadline winners and losers, Grantland’s Andrew Sharp wrote: “If you’re looking to get the most out of a scoring point guard with untapped potential, it’s hard to imagine a better place than a Stan Van Gundy offense. That’s why it was such a big win.”

Van Gundy is the same coach who gave the league Dwyane Wade, turned Rafer Alston and Jameer Nelson into competent starting guards and had Brandon Jennings playing the best ball of his career before rupturing his Achilles.

Oh and by the way, when Dwight Howard had a foot out the door contemplating relocation during the 2011-12 season with the Orlando Magic, Van Gundy was the headman that kept everything together and led the Magic to the playoffs.

Ultimately, that’s why I think Jackson will do fine in Detroit. He’s been dying to show the world his talent and his new coach is the right man to get it out of him, starting tonight against the Wizards.

Sure, Jackson will be going up against an All-Star in John Wall, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’ll be a cakewalk for Wall.

Jackson might have a few early turnovers mostly because he’s unfamiliar with the system, but he will give his counterpart everything and then some.

At this point, I fully expect Jackson to borrow a line from Eddie Murphy stemming from the movie 48 Hours while putting a twist on it:

“There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Reggie Jackson [Hammond].”

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