Detroit Pistons midseason player grades: Point guards edition

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NBA: Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons
NBA: Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons /

Just a couple of games past the midway point, let’s take a look at the Detroit Pistons and grade each rotational player. We’ll start with the point guards.

It’s been a tumultuous season so far for the Detroit Pistons. When Reggie Jackson was ruled out for the first 15-20 games of the season due to knee tendinitis in the preseason, it was understood that the Pistons would struggle out of the gate. After all, Ish Smith was brought to Detroit to be a capable backup, not to run things, as he would have to in Jackson’s prolonged absence.

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Smith proved to be essentially what the scouting report indicated: a lightning-quick facilitator who could generously be described as a streaky shooter and more accurately described as scoring-challenged. With the exception of a torrid three-game road trip right before Jackson returned, Smith struggled to lead the offense but there were aspects inherent to his game and style of play that aided the Detroit Pistons’ defense. That helped keep them afloat and led to a surprising 11-10 record when Jackson made his return to the floor.

Nobody expected the Pistons’ drama and struggle in the backcourt to be greater after Reggie Jackson made his return to the floor than before his return, but that’s the way it’s been so far. Even while Jackson has put up some of the best numbers of his career at times, some fans are calling for Ish Smith’s return to the starting lineup. While that reaction is excessive and in no way the correct adjustment, there’s no arguing that some of what Smith brings to the table complements the Pistons in ways that Jackson does not.

On the other hand, what Jackson brings is an ability to run an offense not completely reliant on the fast break. We’ll discuss the differences, the pros and the cons to both, and what the largely forgotten Beno Udrih brings to the table.