Reggie Jackson’s 2017-18 season outlook for the Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 17: Reggie Jackson
AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 17: Reggie Jackson /

In our series of season outlooks for the players on the 2017-18 Detroit Pistons roster, we’ll run through expectations for each. Next up is Reggie Jackson.

To say Reggie Jackson had a disappointing season would be an unparalleled understatement. A year after being on the All-Star bubble in the Eastern Conference and leading the Detroit Pistons to the playoffs as perhaps their most valuable and best player, the bottom completely fell out.

Jackson overtrained last summer and was stricken with knee tendinitis. He missed the first 21 games of the season, and almost certainly should have missed significantly more games to start the year. With the exception of a solid stretch in January where he put up some of the most effective offensive numbers of his career, he was utterly dreadful on both ends of the floor.

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Among all high-usage players (with a usage rate of 25 percent or higher, playing 20 minutes per game and appearing in more than 50 games), Jackson had the fifth-worst on-court defensive rating in the NBA at 110.5 points per 100 possessions allowed. He also had the second-worst offensive rating at 101.7, and his -8.8 net rating was the second-worst in the NBA behind Brandon Knight.

Among all players with the preceding filters, he had the fourth-worst effective field goal percentage (46.8 percent) and the fourth-worst true shooting percentage at 51 percent. If anything, the Pistons being in the playoff hunt until after he got shut down for the season with just a handful of games to go was almost impressive. It’s not every team that can have their best player transform into one of the worst players in the NBA in a single offseason and yet remain competitive.

The question now remains whether Jackson will be the player of a year ago or two years ago, or whether he’ll be somewhere in between. His priority this summer has been nothing but rehabilitation, eschewing on-court work to focus entirely on strengthening the knee.

Stan Van Gundy spoke about his progress earlier this summer:

"“They put him on a rehab protocol that is longer, a 16 week protocol where they’re slowly getting him ready for the season instead of getting him right back out on the court right away and doing his normal summer work.” Van Gundy continued, “He’s taking it slowly and ramping up more slowly, a lot more slowly than usual but really just concentrating on strengthening the leg and doing the conditioning he can do without pounding on the joint. So it’s a combination of rest and strength and conditioning. It’s all going well. We’ve had our physical therapist out there pretty much all summer with him to monitor his physical therapy.”"

Rest and minute-management will be important for Jackson this coming season. Most likely, the best way to manage his minutes and rest would be to sit him in the bulk of the back end of the Pistons’ 14 back-to-back games.

Next: 10 things I like and don't like about the Pistons summer

The Detroit Pistons may be better situated to handle extended absences from Jackson this season thanks to acquisitions of 12th overall draft pick Luke Kennard, Avery Bradley and Langston Galloway, but this team needs a healthy Reggie Jackson if they want to reach their ceiling this coming season.