The Detroit Pistons could be without Reggie Jackson for 6-8 weeks, coach Stan Van Gundy says, as the point guard battles knee tendonitis.
Jackson, who recently said he’d battled the tendonitis off and on for years, had been taking it easy at the start of training camp to ensure he was healthy to start the season. Now, it seems, he will be out an extended period of time and the Pistons might be looking for some additional depth while Jackson is unavailable.
As Detroit Bad Boys previously
reported aggregated, the Pistons were reportedly gauging the free agent point guard market knowing Jackson could be MIA to start the season.
The team even reportedly showed interest in free agent Norris Cole, a player they had been linked to previously, but he had already come to terms on a monster $5 million deal to play in China.
Van Gundy told reporters that at this point a trade is unlikely as he doesn’t want to sacrifice future and/or young assets for a stopgap solution.
That means he’s ready to slide Ish Smith into the starting lineup and allow young journeymen Ray McCallum (four teams in four years) and Lorenzo Brown (three teams in three years) fight for a backup role.
Smith might actually prove to be more effective in a starting role than off the bench. He is an expert at finding the roll man and because of his inability to shoot the better offensive weapons he has around him the more he can attack with a drive and find open teammates.
Smith averaged 12.6 points, 6.5 assists and 2.3 turnovers on 41 percent shooting last season.
The timetable for Jackson’s return is dependent on the course of action he takes for treatment. Courtesy of Rod Beard at the Detroit News, if Jackson chooses to get platelet-rich plasma therapy on his knee he will be sidelined up to eight weeks. If an alternative treatment is chosen he could be back sooner.
Assuming he is out for eight weeks, he will miss approximately 20 games to begin the year and could suit up in early to mid-December. Jackson had 6,010 touches last season, 13th in the NBA, used more possessions in the pick-and-roll than anyone else in the NBA and a 28.8 percent usage rate. In other words, he had the ball a lot and made Detroit’s offensive system go.
The good news, if there is any, is that Smith had largely the same kind of offensive responsibility and a lot of the same pluses (and minuses) of Jackson. If he can learn the playbook, Detroit should not look remarkably different than what they showed last season.
As for Brown and McCallum, neither are a great option as a backup point guard because neither have proven they could handle the role in their brief NBA careers. Van Gundy is not usually somebody who likes to take chances on an unproven commodity. Remember, he traded for Steve Blake last season while Brandon Jennings was on the mend instead of turning to the unproven Spencer Dinwiddie as his backup point.
Still, Van Gundy doesn’t outright lie to the media, and the fact that he says he’s unlikely to make a move means he’s at least willing to entertain the idea of trusting those already on the roster to fill this point guard hole.