clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NBA free agents: Should Pistons pursue Reggie Jackson in 2015?

New, comments

Reggie Jackson is a restricted FA in 2015. Will Detroit make a play?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the main reason for Reggie Jackson spurning the Thunder's interest in an extension is the hope that he can secure himself a starting job for next season.

Reggie Jackson has been one of the better players in his draft class.  He was the 24th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft out of Boston College, and in a class that was very weak at the top, but quite strong in the mid to late first round, he's one of the better value picks.

Just to expand, players like Derrick Williams (No. 2), Jan Vesely (6), Bismack Biyombo (7) and Jimmer Fredette (10) are widely considered either disappointing (Williams, Biyombo) or full-blown busts (Fredette, Vesely).  Contrast that with the middle of the first round, where great selections occurred like Klay Thompson (11), Kawhi Leonard (15), Nikola Vucevic (16), Iman Shumpert (17, not a popular pick in fans' minds), Kenneth Faried (22, but he has dreadlocks, so...), Norris Cole (28) and Jimmy Butler (30).

As I stated, Jackson is one of the very solid players picked late in the first round of this draft who would likely start on numerous NBA teams.  The question is, however, if he is looking for a starting job as Woj suggetss, can the Pistons give him that opportunity?

Pistons Comparison

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings' struggles to start this season have been documented.  He has made progress in his shot selection, but many wonder if that is a product of improved thought-processes or simply reduced playing time.  His main struggle has been mental, as he appears lost in the new system and constantly looking over his shoulder to see if D.J. Augustin is subbing back in.  I expect Jennings to gradually get more playing time, as I feel Augustin has merely been OK, but inefficient shooting-wise and somewhat of a stagnating force on the offense.  Anyway, let's see how Jackson would compare to Jennings.

Brandon Jennings


Stat


Reggie Jackson


80 (79)

Games Played (Started)

80 (36)

34.1

Minutes PG

28.5

.373

FG%

.440

.337

3PT%

.339

.751

FT%

.893

0.7

O Rebounds PG

0.5

3.1

Rebounds PG

3.9

7.6

Assists PG

4.1

1.3

Steals PG

1.1

0.1

Blocks PG

0.1

2.7

Turnovers PG

2.1

15.5

Points PG

13.1

As you can see, both players have glaring advantages.  Jennings has a far better A:TO ratio, along with far better assist numbers.  However, Jackson is a far better foul shooter and has a better field goal percentage.  Jackson also played heavy minutes off the bench, his 36 starts coming while Russell Westbrook was out injured.  Both players are equally average from beyond the arc.  However, when you examine the advanced stats, there appears to be a different story, as the raw numbers give a fairly even battle.

Brandon Jennings


Advanced Stat


Reggie Jackson


15.6

PER

15.4

.486

TS%

.527

.403

3PAr

.267

34.4

AST%

23.1

23.4

USG%

22.6

14.4

TOV%

14.5

.068

WS/48

.104

I had assumed that Jackson would have a clear advantage in the advanced metrics, but it is a lot closer than I thought.  I've singled out the statistics I viewed as more important for PGs, such as assist and turnover rate, usage rate, and percentage of field goals attempted from three (3PAr).  What I can tell, is that Jackson is perhaps more in tune with his weaknesses, as far less of his attempts come from 3 than Jennings, despite them having equal shooting numbers.  Also, Jackson has a higher true shooting percentage, but we can factor this to not being a focal point of offense, he would have had far more open looks as defenses keyed in on Kevin Durant, but that's not to say he is not a bad shooter.  Jennings will always have a low TS%, unfortunately, but it was his high volume of shots which was the issue.  In a team with Monroe, Drummond, Caldwell-Pope and (through gritted teeth) Josh Smith, there is no way Jennings needed to shoot the ball 14 times a game.  However, discounting shooting, it is a fairly even battle, with Jennings having other advantages in major areas.  I was surprised to see that Jennings actually has a better PER and smaller turnover rate (negligible differences, but better nonetheless).  Jennings' usage rate was remarkably lower than expected (or perhaps Jackson's was simply far higher than expected).  However, where Jennings is undisputedly better is at distributing, where he outscored Jackson by 11 percentage points.  Couple this with the fact that Jennings and Jackson have similar turnover percentages, and Jennings appears the better point guard, but Jackson is the more efficient shooter.  It's really a question of what you need.

D.J. Augustin

D.J. Augustin has started the season fairly well, scoring 17.5 points per game, but his shooting percentages have suffered a little bit, and he is not as willing/able a passer as Jennings.  Let's examine the comparison between Augustin and Jackson.

D.J. Augustin


Stat


Reggie Jackson


71 (9)

Games Played (Started)

80 (36)

27.3

Minutes PG

28.5

.415

FG%

.440

.401

3PT%

.339

.885

FT%

.893

0.2

O Rebounds PG

0.5

1.8

Rebounds PG

3.9

4.4

Assists PG

4.1

0.7

Steals PG

1.1

0.0

Blocks PG

0.1

1.8

Turnovers PG

2.1

13.1

Points PG

13.1

After stalling in Toronto, Augustin was waived by the Raptors and proceeded to reignite his career with the Chicago Bulls.  A far fall from grace for someone who was the 9th pick in the '08 NBA Draft.  Looking at the raw numbers, Augustin and Jackson have similar production.  I didn't realize Augustin had as many assists as that given his role as a bench scorer.  Their minutes and points production are very similar, but each player has one clear advantage.  Augustin is a knockdown shooter, as evidenced by his .401 clip.  Jackson, on the other hand, is far better on the dirty side of the court, averaging more steals and rebounds per game.  Let's have a look at the advanced stats.

D.J. Augustin


Advanced Stat


Reggie Jackson


16.2

PER

15.4

.569

TS%

.527

.462

3Par

.267

28.9

AST%

23.1

22.4

USG%

22.6

13.3

TOV%

14.5

.154

WS/48

.104

Again, these show Augustin to be a better shooter.  His high portion of threes attempted is more defensible than Jennings' because of his higher percentage.  Also, Augustin has a rather high assist percentage and a very respectable turnover rate.  Despite his scoring nature, I would suggest he gets most of his assists from situations like drive-and-dish to either a big man rotating to the basket or a wide open corner three.  He is also apparently proficient at the PNR, but we have really yet to see that this season.

Contract Analysis

Next season, both Brandon Jennings and D.J. Augustin will be expiring contracts.  Jennings will be due $8 million and Augustin $3 million.  Given the crazy deals being handed out to other members of his class today (Klay Thompson 4/70, Alec Burks 4/42, Ricky Rubio 4/55), it's not unreasonable to think Jackson may garner some serious money.  Perhaps not north of $10 million like Burks and Rubio, but it's reasonable to think he may command somewhere in the region of $7-9 million, especially with the new cap increase.

Final Thoughts

Jackson is a very good player, no questions about it.  However, this move (and there is no interest, this is pure speculation) is dependent on several factors.  Jennings will become easier to trade this coming summer due to his expiring status, and his departure would leave a hole at PG which Jackson could capably fill.  However, does Jackson really provide more than Jennings?  Jackson is a more efficient scorer, but Jennings and even Augustin have proven to be better at running an offense.  Jackson would be a defensive upgrade at the position, and his scoring would not be as important on a team with Caldwell-Pope, Drummond and ideally Monroe, so this move is based on personal interests.

What do you guys think?  Have your say below.