That start of the Reggie Jackson era:
Just woke up from my nap a #Piston #DETROITBASKETBALL!!!— Reggie Jackson (@Reggie_Jackson) February 19, 2015
And the end:
#Pistons to start Ish Smith tonight vs. #Bulls.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) March 22, 2017
Trust is the single most important trait in any successful relationship, and once that trust is broken, it’s damn near impossible to return to the way things use to be.
When Stan Van Gundy benched Reggie Jackson before the start of the Chicago Bulls game, a game the Pistons absolutely needed to win to stay in the playoff hunt, he basically said: I don’t trust you.
Yes, Jackson may technically be a member of the Pistons moving forward, but he will be viewed as expendable rather than an important piece of the Pistons’ puzzle.
It’s no secret Jackson has struggled all year. By making a switch this late into the season, does the good outweigh the bad?
I’m not so sure.
What the switch does say is Jackson — and his 15 million dollar price tag — can’t outplay the journeyman point guard the Pistons signed in the offseason when they need him to the most. If Reggie’s not part of the future, how the hell do you sell that on the market? In any trade scenario, the Pistons will receive pennies on the dollar simply because teams now know how the Pistons view Jackson.
By starting Ish Smith, do the 2016-17 Pistons have a higher ceiling?
Maybe? Either Reggie or Ish, the likelihood of the Pistons making any postseason noise this year were slim and none, so why ruin the Jackson relationship and his trade value by benching him when there is so little to gain? The upside of making the playoffs is offset by the low return Reggie will fetch in any trade.
Jackson’s knee has been an issue all year and played a large part in his disappointing play. With all that’s invested in Jackson, he should’ve been granted the off season to heal. People come back from injuries all the time, but how many players in a leadership role come back from a demotion as significant as this to help the same team?
It’s over and the Pistons now have nothing to show for it.
It’s not a free pass for Jackson, as he’s been just shy of horrible, but the timing of this decision doesn’t make much sense.
Starting Smith is a glorified band-aid. By doing so, Stan Van Gundy is just addressing the symptom and not the actual problem in their offense. The actual problem is the redundancy in Detroit’s offensive schemes and principles. That’s not on Jackson and it’s not on Smith.
It’s on Stan Van Gundy.
Have you ever watched a football game in which one team runs it down their opponent’s throat time after time and there is nothing the defense can do about it? They know an A gap draw is coming, but it still nets six or seven yards.
It works because the offense is more talented.
Have you ever witnessed old dudes run a court in pick-up? They’re there for two hours doing the same stuff over and over, at half the speed of the younger guys, but they never lose.
It works because their basketball IQ is much higher.
The Pistons are neither smarter, nor more talented than the teams that matter, but they have been running the same half court sets all year. When it’s not clicking, they don’t have a counter punch to throw, and it hasn’t been clicking.
The Pistons have been at their “best” when they fallen back on their default motion half court offense:
And not the predictable Horns variation(s) they’ve run in to the ground:
One of the biggest reasons it’s harder to score in the postseason is because the opposition finally has time to set up a scheme that is solely focused on the team they’re playing. For two weeks, in a seven-game series, all that matters is stopping one team.
In the regular season, you could be in Utah, Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee all in the same week and any defensive schemes would be vanilla at best.
What the Pistons — led by SVG — have done is give teams an upper hand in defending them by adding nothing new to their style or play all year. Teams have used the same defensive foundations throughout the season against the Pistons and can add on each time they play — like in a playoff scenario — because nothing changes.
That’s true no matter who the point guard is. That’s on Stan Van Gundy.
This summer should be interesting. It’s perfectly fine to make a change, but the timing was awful. Stan Van Gundy chose to try and win a battle instead of preparing for the war.