Reggie Jackson is better than this. You may disagree with Stan Van Gundy on what Jackson's ceiling is, but Jackson already has proven too much in his short career before arriving in Detroit to doubt that he's stuck in a funk -- perhaps because he's trying to do too much to prove himself worthy of the long-time starting job (and that contract that goes along with it this summer) he coveted so long playing behind Russell Westbrook.
Returning from Salt Lake City last weekend, some of Jackson's teammates reminded him of this. From the Detroit Free Press:
"On the last flight home, some of the older guys — those familiar with being here — and coach today, they said it's about going out there and being Reggie Jackson," said Jackson, 24, whose performances have been erratic since being acquired in a trade last month. "I'm just going to be myself and let the plays happen. If there's a stretch when I get a lot of shots, so be it. If there's a stretch I don't, so be it. Just go out there and be aggressive."
Jackson, a restricted free agent this summer, said he appreciated the advice and admitted the point guard position "is measured by wins and loses."
If that sounds familiar, it's probably because it seems like almost every new point guard arriving to a new team goes through a learning period. Brandon Jennings did the same with the Pistons his first year in Detroit, saying in January 2104:
"I think I'm just thinking too much, trying to find guys instead of looking for my shot," Jennings said. "So when I do, I'm out of rhythm because I'm not looking for it."
Maybe Jackson bounces back and re-discovers his form before the end of the year, or maybe he signs a long-term contract (with the Pistons, most likely) based on faith that it'll happen next year. (Of course, if point guards are measured on wins and losses, perhaps he'd sign for cheap? No? Carry on.) In 11 games and 30.8 minutes a night with the Pistons, Jackson is shooting just .371 while attempting a career-high 15.5 shots per game. In 50 games and 28 minutes a night earlier this season with the Thunder, Jackson shot .432 while averaging 11.5 shots.
As a Pistons fan, I'm torn. I want Jackson to succeed, but on the heels of a 10-game losing streak that decimated Detroit's playoff chances, I'm also not terribly excited about (yet another) late season win streak that serves no purpose but make ping-pong balls disappear.
Now your thoughts.