The Detroit Pistons have officially put the NBA on notice. Just a week ago Detroit was sitting at 7-9, with Pistons fans everywhere clamoring for Reggie Jackson’s return. The tone has changed.
Yes, it’s great news that Reggie Jackson will make his season debut Sunday against the Orlando Magic. But it’s even better news that Jackson can comfortably limit his minutes, knowing that his team has been on an absolute tear as of late.
Whether Jackson plays 20 minutes or 35 minutes, the Pistons should be just fine as they welcome the 8-11 Magic, who have lost five of their last seven games.
When: December 4th, 6:00 p.m. EST
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Throughout the beginning of the season, the Pistons have statistically been an average or below average team in most major categories, aside from defensive rating in which they rank fifth in the league. Detroit ranks 16th in offensive efficiency (103.5), 21st in effective field goal percentage (eFG) at 49.6 percent, 25th in pace at 96 possessions per game, and 23rd in points per game with 100.4.
Looking at these numbers, it’s no surprise that the Pistons are barely above .500. But over the last five games, (in which they have gone 4-1 in that stretch) Detroit has suddenly flipped a switch and are now looking like one of the best teams in the league, Reggie or not.
Currently the Pistons are looking more like a possible three seed in the East rather than a team struggling to make it to the playoffs. Let’s just look at some of their ratings/rankings over the past five.
Last five games
First: three point shooting percentage (41.7) and rebound percentage (55.4%)
Third: plus/minus (11.8)
Fourth: effective field goal percentage (56.6) and net rating (12.1)
Fifth: offensive rating (114.8) and PIE (55.3)
Sixth: true shooting percentage (58.5%) and turnover ratio (11.9)
Eighth: assist ratio (17.8)
Tenth: defensive rating (102.8)
With the Pistons playing at a top-tier team level, Sundays outcome will come down to how well Detroit can assert their newfound offensive efficient play on the defensive minded Orlando Magic.
Orlando currently ranks third in opponents’ points per game (97.3) and fourth in defensive rating, but rank near the bottom of most major offensive categories; 29th in ppg, 28th in three point-shooting, and dead last in effective FG%.
Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond
Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Serge Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic
The Pistons are feeling it right now. They’ve been smashing playoff quality Eastern Conference teams on the road and now welcome one of the NBA’s weakest teams (who lack an identity to boot) to Auburn Hills.
As long as Ish Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can help lighten the load for Jackson and continue to play efficiently, this game should be a Sunday stroll in the park for the Pistons.
Detroit 105, Orlando 94
How do you see the Pistons utilizing Reggie Jackson in his season debut?