Reggie Jackson’s best and worst case scenarios for the 2017-18 season

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 08: Reggie Jackson
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 08: Reggie Jackson /

Reggie Jackson had the most disappointing season of any player in the NBA last year for the Detroit Pistons. We’ll discuss how he may fare in 2017-18.

If there was an award for the NBA’s most disappointing season, Reggie Jackson would have been the unanimous winner for his season with the Detroit Pistons a year ago. It’s not all his fault, mind you, because knee tendinitis is a dreadful injury for a starting point guard to have to endure, but it doesn’t obscure the results.

We know what happened, so we’ll look towards the future to try to ascertain what best and worst-case scenarios await Jackson.

While Andre Drummond alone could prove to be the difference between a Piston team in the late lottery or in the playoffs, we have a clear view of his floor. At Drummond’s worst, we know he’s still one of the best rebounders in the NBA whose sheer size can have a beneficial impact, at least on the boards. As far as floors go, that’s not bad.

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As for Reggie Jackson’s floor, we can assume that’s known as well. It’s hard to imagine a floor lower than his performance last season. A repeat of that could doom this Piston team once again. Thanks in part to Jackson’s inherent inefficiencies, a middling offense became one of the league’s worst. A defense which was instrumental in keeping the team afloat was an unmitigated disaster at all times when he was on the floor.

While the Pistons are likely better equipped now to deal with a malfunctioning Jackson if he can’t get his legs back, getting no benefit out of a player who was the best on the roster two years ago would be disastrous. He also has $52 million remaining on the final three years of his contract.

An ineffective or completely shut-down Jackson would be a mark on Stan Van Gundy’s record as an executive, whether that’s fair or not. Having to either eat that contract for another three seasons or move him for pennies on the dollar would also reflect poorly on the current administration. Given his trade value is so low, it makes sense the Detroit Pistons didn’t take any serious action to trade him, but if he can’t bounce back that move will have to be made regardless.

As for the rosier possibilities, if Jackson’s rehab does the trick and he can return in good form, he doesn’t need to be a fringe All Star to help this team like he did in 2015-16. He had his best three-point shooting season last year, and he took a higher percentage of his shots from long range than in any season since his second year in 2012-13.

He can be used off ball more, with Avery Bradley being used as a primary facilitator, taking some of that focus off him and allowing him to spot up and move off screens. He doesn’t need to be the first, second and third options for both scoring and facilitating, as Bradley is more than adequate at both and Tobias Harris established himself last season as a go-to scorer on this team.

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The Pistons are better able to handle a diminished Reggie Jackson now than at any point in his tenure in Detroit. Even if he can’t go at full strength, they may be able to utilize him better than ever through schematic adjustments and utilizing the new (and newly discovered) weapons they have at their disposal.