It’s been a discombobulated season for Reggie Jackson. It began under the shadow of extension negotiations with the Thunder that ultimately failed to produce a deal, seemingly in part because some teams reportedly believed he’d draw offers of $13-14MM in free agency and because Jackson made it clear he wants to be a starting point guard. That sort of role wasn’t going to come open for him in Oklahoma City, at least on any long-term basis. Still, the 24-year-old had a brief chance to audition for the sort of job he sought when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both missed most of November.
Jackson averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 assists against 3.3 turnovers per game in 13 contests without both Durant and Westbrook in November, a stretch during which the Thunder went 3-10. He also grabbed 5.2 rebounds a night, displaying all-around talent that nonetheless came amid a high volume of 17.9 field goal attempts per game, 27.0% three-point shooting, and Oklahoma City’s losing record. The poor outside shooting was no shock for the career 28.8% three-point shooter, and neither was the regression in his stats to 10.2 PPG, 3.1 APG, 3.6 RPG and 9.3 shot attempts per game from the time Westbrook made his return through the trade deadline.
Still, there was enough potential there for Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy to pull the trigger on a deadline-day deal that cost Detroit D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler and a pair of second-round picks in return for Jackson. It wasn’t a dire price to pay, but it seems there’ll be a steeper cost for retaining Jackson when his contract is up this summer.
Jackson has so far compiled a decidedly up-and-down track record for GMs around the league to evaluate in his brief tenure as the starting point guard for the Pistons. He put up an eye-popping 23 points and 20 rebounds against a Grizzlies team without Mike Conley on Tuesday and followed it up with a triple-double against the Sixers the next night. He nearly recorded a triple-double against the Cavs in just his second game as a Piston, posting 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. The next game he shot just 5 for 24 against the Knicks, and his two-point, 1 for 9 performance against the Lakers is another red flag. Most disturbingly, the Pistons are just 2-11 when Jackson plays.
It’s the same Pistons core that went 12-4 in between the day the team waived Josh Smith and the time Brandon Jennings missed his first game with his season-ending Achilles tear. The presence of Jennings, who’ll be on an expiring contract next season, further complicates Jackson’s impending free agency for Detroit.
There are probably almost as many question marks about Jackson among other teams as there are for the Pistons. So, let us know the sort of starting salary you think the Aaron Mintz client will end up scoring on his next deal, and elaborate on your choice in the comments.