Reggie Jackson will determine the success of the Detroit Pistons

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 11: Reggie Jackson
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 11: Reggie Jackson /

The Detroit Pistons need a healthy Reggie Jackson if they plan on getting back to the postseason. He ignites this team when he’s on the floor.

After making the playoffs in 2016, the Detroit Pistons have been on the outside looking in for the last two seasons. They finished four games away from the final playoff spot in both years.

The main reason they took that step back from 2016 in each of the last two seasons is mainly due to Reggie Jackson‘s absence. He makes this team much better when he’s on the floor.

Many would think either Andre Drummond or Blake Griffin would determine the success of this team. Here’s why Jackson is a much more vital asset to this team.

Looking at last season

One could point to a number of reasons why the Pistons missed the postseason for the second straight year. The first one is the Griffin trade.

The Pistons moved two of their starters and one of their rotational players off the bench for him. It’s a difficult task to have a mini-overhaul of your roster half way through the season and still succeed.

Another problem that the Pistons had last season was getting production from their bench. They finished toward the bottom of the league and bench production.

The biggest reason they struggled last season was not having a healthy Reggie Jackson. Let’s look at the record comparison with Jackson in the lineup and without him:

  • With Jackson in lineup: 27-18

  • Without Jackson in lineup: 12-25

The numbers speak for themselves. They need Jackson in the lineup if they’re going to be successful.

Jackson plays the most important position on the court

Look across the league. Your point guard is going to going up against the likes of Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and John Wall on a nightly basis.

That is why point guard is the most important position on the floor. Without an above average point guard, your team will not contend.

That is the main reason why the Pistons have been held back for the past two seasons. Without Jackson, Ish Smith has been granted the starting duties the last two years.

Smith is a serviceable back-up point guard at best. He’s not talented enough to handle a big work load. Jackson has proved that he can.

On top of that, missing Jackson means guys like Jameer Nelson and Dwight Buycks were getting meaningful minutes. That’s not a recipe for success.

Jackson is a good player

Let’s look at the numbers over the last three seasons for Reggie Jackson as a Detroit Piston:

  • 2015-16: 18.8 PPG, 6.2 APG
  • 2016-17: 14.5 PPG, 5.2 APG
  • 2017-18: 14.6 PPG, 5.3 APG

This is why his health is so critical. During the 2015-2016 season, those number are borderline All-Star caliber. He was a big reason why they made it to the postseason that year.

When he’s on his game, Jackson is a guy that can space the floor for a team. During that season, he shot near a 36 percent clip from three-point range. That part of his game is much more vital now that Griffin and Drummond are together in the front court.

Jackson is one of the better facilitators in the game when he’s healthy as well. During the 2015-2016 season, he accounted for over 36 percent of the team’s assists.

When healthy, Jackson is a top five point guard in the eastern conference. If the Detroit Pistons are going to compete in the Eastern conference, they will need a healthy Reggie Jackson.

Here’s a reminder of what he can do when he’s on his game.

Next: Still-too-early starting lineup projections