Reggie Jackson and the Pistons ready to prove their worth
Reggie Jackson was arguably the Pistons' biggest signing of the offseason, with Stan Van Gundy locking up his point guard of the future with a five year, $80-million contract extension. The deal certainly made it clear that the mid-season acquisition is the future of the franchise alongside Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Stanley Johnson, however, not everyone was pleased with the signing. John Wall, for one, was irate at the notion he would be in the same pay-bracket as the former Oklahoma City Thunder backup point guard. DBB's Sean Corp defended the signing in The Detroit Free Press, but news of the deal was met with mixed reactions from around the League. Jackson comes in at 94 overall on Sports Illustrated's NBA Top 100, was featured in ESPN's "2016 First Time All-Star" discussion, yet, many are still skeptical the point guard can live up to his contract. With the bar set high, and multiple haters to silence, it would be easy for the pressure to start affecting Jackson, but as Pistons.com's Keith Langlois reveals, the Motown floor general is excited to prove his worth during the regular season:
"I feel like I’ve been here. I feel like the guys know who I am and for the most part I know them," he said. "Even though it was short, I was extremely blessed and privileged to come over here (for the remainder of the 2014-15 season). It was a tough struggle, but I think it’s going to pay off in the end. I truly believe that. I’m going to help by attacking the paint and it’s just going to open the floor for everybody else on catch and drives, catch and shoots. Hopefully, we make plays for each other. I’m looking forward to seeing how this team gels."
Jackson's play will certainly spark more debate about whether or not he is worthy of his contract, but if his 27 games as a Piston last season proved anything, it's that he is a very capable point guard. With a large influx of new talent bolstering both the starting lineup and the bench, it is hard to see how Detroit could go wrong with Reggie at the helm.
That said, the Pistons have been disrespected in many 2016 season forecasts. ESPN has Detroit finishing 11th in the East and Basketball Insiders seem to believe the Motor City will claim the fifth spot in the Central Division and perhaps whiff at the Playoffs -- a disappointing ranking to say the least. However, Basketball Insiders did recognize the potential lurking within a Reggie Jackson-Andre Drummond pick-and-roll tandem, with the writers looking forward to seeing whether or not Stan Van Gundy's Motown experiment will sink or swim. Detroit has certainly embraced the underdog image given to them during the course of the offseason, and will look to surprise the rest of the Association.
Bill Laimbeer wins second WNBA Coach of the Year Award
Former Pistons enforcer turned head coach has added yet another accolade to his resume, with the New York Liberty head honcho earning 23 of 39 possible first place votes to secure the 2015 WNBA Coach of the Year Award, according to the Associated Press' Doug Feinberg. This is the second time Laimbeer has won the award, originally winning it in 2003 as the head coach for the Championship-winning Detroit Shock. The former Pistons center has had a lot of success in the WNBA, winning three Championships in 2003, 2006 and 2008, adding to the two he won as a player in 1989 and 1990 as a member of the Pistons.
Laimbeer has long been considered one of the better coaches in the WNBA, and his name often finds itself in the mix when teams look to add depth to their coaching staff. That being said, the 58 year old has only had one NBA coaching stint, serving as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2009 to 2011. After Lawrence Frank's dismissal in 2013, Laimbeer received some interest from the Pistons but ultimately was beat out by Maurice Cheeks who would be fired halfway into his first season, leading to the team's eventual hiring of Stan Van Gundy.
Since then however, it seems NBA coaching opportunities have dried up for the NBA veteran, and he himself declared that his chance at entering the NBA coaching circuit has passed, with his past as a Bad Boy apparently clouding the judgement of NBA front offices. Laimbeer had a great career as a player, and has the rings and awards to speak for his coaching ability. It'd be great to see him back on the NBA sidelines, but, all things considered, it is the NBA's loss, not his, that he hasn't been able to crack the head-coach carousel.
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Aron Baynes (@aronbaynes) September 18, 2015