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Film Don’t Lie: Frank Jackson should trade some 3-point looks for drives to the rim

I go to the film to see if Frank Jackson can truly be a long-term answer as a scorer off the bench

Detroit Pistons v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

This film review will not be looking at Frank Jackson’s overall game in terms of what he brings on the defensive end or rebounding. Although, I do think it is worth noting that the Detroit Pistons reserve guard has seen his rebounding (Per 100 possessions) drop by almost 50% from last season while his defensive rating is relatively the same with an actual slight uptick.

I think we would all agree that Frank Jackson will not cement his place in the future of this organization based on how he plays defense or rebounds. Yes, he has to find ways to avoid being a giant negative in those areas (something we have talked about with Luka Garza’s NBA potential), but at the end of the day his staying power is dependent on his offensive contributions.

I WANT Frank Jackson to be that “instant offense” off the bench that emerged at the end of last season. When considering depth charts of the future, which is something I periodically log, I continue to pencil him into the role of quick-strike offense off the bench. As much as I want to see it happen, I’m still not sure we have got the overwhelming data to feel confident he will ever get there.

So far this season for every good stretch of shooting and all around scoring game(s) Jackson has delivered, there is an equal number of disappointing ones that preceded or followed. His field goal percentage is down from last season because his 3-point proficiency has dropped 10% while his field goal percentage within the 3-point line is actually up.

Jackson has actually displayed some explosiveness and adeptness when driving to the lane this season, and that is helping to mitigate his faltering 3-point shot. It should be noted he is attempting just about the same field goal attempts (per 100 possessions) as last season BUT attempting almost three fewer 2-pointers. I said all offseason that Frank Jackson being the contributor off the bench that we needed him to be would revolve around that 40% 3-point shooting that we saw last season being his true baseline. So far this season, that has not been the case and there is an argument to be made that he should start to turn down a few of the tougher 3-point looks and attack the basket. He is currently 21-of-27 at the rim this season, according to Basketball Reference). Of course, this is the picture that the stats sketch out ... let’s see what the film shows.

3-Point Shooting

As mentioned above, Jackson’s 3-point shooting has not been good, or at the very least, not consistent at all this season. The numbers show that, the film confirms it, but I wanted to see and highlight part of why I think this is. Yes, simply making shots is part of the game of basketball, and I like to emphasize that as much as anyone. I do, however, believe the types of shots that Jackson is taking have played a role as well. It has actually gotten better since the start of the season, but he is still taking a couple shots a game I think he could turn down as I show in this video breakdown.

To the Rim/Creation

The most surprising offensive development in Frank Jackson’s game for me has been attacking AND finishing at the rim. The athleticism that we have seen has gone from a “surprise” (Quick Sidebar - mark me down as one who did not realize I should not be surprised by his athleticism as it is found as a “strength” in every one of his pre-draft scouting reports.) to something we have come to know and expect from Jackson.

Having the ability to attack the basket efficiently is a great complement to a shooter’s game as they play off of each other very well. As well as he has finished at the rim, he has struggled as you move into the 3-10 feet range and this, along with creating for others, are a couple areas I will highlight as well in the video breakdown below.

Taking all of this into account I think the jury is still out on whether Jackson will end up being a long term piece of the Pistons puzzle or someone we talk about 10 years from now that had a good stretch of games last season that got fans excited for something that never materialized. The numbers, well, they definitely do not paint the most promising of pictures through 20+ games but the film still leaves something to be encouraged about. I’m sure fans are tired of hearing me say this about players but let’s see what we get from Frank for a full 82 games this season before starting to make any overwhelming proclamations on what his future might hold.