To say the 2016-2017 season was a disappointment for Reggie Jackson would be an understatement. After being the leading scorer on a promising young playoff team in 2015-16, things were looking up for Reggie Jackson. That is until he opted to have platelet-rich plasma treatment on his lingering knee tendinitis, which would cost him the first 21 games of the season.
His return was supposed to spark the 11-10 Pistons towards the upper tier of the Eastern Conference. Instead, his return did more harm than good.
Jackson was ineffective for most of the season. He simply did not have the same explosiveness he had driving to the basket throughout his career and the offense completely floundered because of it. You can see just from the numbers that Jackson’s lack of explosiveness was a huge damper on his finishing around the rim.
He shot 50.3 percent from 0-3 feet, the lowest he has shot from that range since his rookie season. It was down from the 57.5 percent he shot the previous season. His shooting from 3-10 feet also saw a decline, although not as significant from the previous season as his shooting from 0-3 feet. He shot 37.1 percent from 3-10 feet in 2016-17 and 38.1 percent from that range in 2015-16.
The Pistons offense is designed around the Andre Drummond-Reggie Jackson pick and roll. When one part of that pick and roll duo is struggling with doing a huge part of making a pick and roll effective, it hurts everybody else on offense.
When the point guard is no threat to drive by you as a defender or finish at the rim when he does get by you, you can play defense a lot differently as a team. It leads to tougher rolls to the rim for the roll man and tougher shots for the players around the perimeter. That is a huge reason why a starting lineup that was largely the same could go from being a middle-of-the-pack offensive team to a bottom five offensive team.
Reggie Jackson claimed that he was healthy, but both the numbers and the eye test do not support that theory.
The fact that Reggie Jackson was shut down down for the last nine games of the season further points to his unhealthy status.
I am not trying to make excuses for Reggie Jackson. No matter what the circumstances are, he was terrible for the Pistons last season and a complete net negative. I usually don’t like +/- as a stat, but his +/- of -4.3 for the season paints a pretty accurate picture of how his season went.
The only year where he had a true shooting percentage worse than his 51 percent was his rookie season when it was 40.8 percent. This is despite the fact he shot a career high 35.9 percent from three, which was also second highest on the Pistons (if that doesn’t show you the Pistons shooting problems, I don’t know what will).
On top of that, his already bad defense was worse than before.
I fully understand wanting to go out there and help your team. This is your job and you want to do whatever you can to make the team better. However, at some point you have to evaluate what you are doing as a player out on the court and see that you are hurting the team. This is easy to say as somebody hiding behind a keyboard and watching the games on TV.
There is no way to actually know how much Reggie Jackson’s knee bothered him or if it was just something psychological. Whatever it was, there was clearly something wrong.
When discussing what should be done during the offseason, many Pistons fans are quick to pull out the pitchforks and send Reggie Jackson out of town. If the right offer comes along, then you obviously pull the trigger. However, that could be said about any player. Sometimes as a fan, you need to take a step back, look at the circumstances and not be so quick to send everybody out of town.
This could very well could be the new Reggie Jackson. If that is the case, the Pistons have themselves a huge problem. However, I think Jackson should be given one more season just to see if he can recapture the form that lead this team to their only playoff birth in the last nine years. His value is at its lowest and players typically don’t drop off this much during the prime of their career. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on Jackson bouncing back.
After all, it couldn’t get much worse.