In just 27 games and a single offseason, Reggie Jackson already seems to have filled a gaping leadership void that has plagued the Pistons since the waning days of the Going to Work era.
Jackson took the podium at Pistons media day relaxed, joking with teammates but also with a focus and sense of purpose. Words mean little, but it wasn't just what Jackson was saying, but the way he carried himself.
After all, Pistons fans have heard the leadership speech from everyone -- Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Andre Drummond. It never really took. Never seemed believable.
But when Jackson speaks ... it's just different.
"What I've been good at, I've got to keep working on as hard as I can. I've got to go in the paint and take a beating every single night, that's my job. I've got to find a way to get my teammates going, I've got to find a way to get us easy baskets, get us to the line and to play defense," Jackson said of his role on the team.
He also mentioned how important it is for him to improve his perimeter shot and his defense. Any shortcomings on defense, Jackson readily admits, has to do with mental laziness than a lack of skill. "I've just got to bring it night in and night out," he said.
And if there were any worries that now that he's been given a starting job and the richest contract in franchise history, that Jackson would let up in his preparation and effort, he quickly dispelled them.
"I want to be better than the best," Jackson said.
"Everyone says they want to be great, but it's a lot of work. My first year, I didn't necessarily play in the league, but I got to watch my teammates (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, et al). I worked as hard as I could just to get on the court."
And what was his greatest lesson from those stacked OKC days full of little playing time but championship aspirations?
"I think we worked damn hard just to come up second."
Jackson, it seems, knows what it's going to take to push this team forward.