It’s still too early to declare a winner in the three-way trade that sent Reggie Jackson from the Thunder to the Pistons, but Detroit certainty should not be called the loser in the deal, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. There was a lot of verbal jabbing from some Thunder players (most notably by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant) regarding Jackson’s return to Oklahoma City for a game Friday. Yet Jackson, as Ellis points out, is averaging 18.2 points, eight assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in the 43 games he has played since joining the Pistons (heading into action Sunday). The Pistons re-signed Jackson to a five-year, $80MM contract in the offseason.
Here’s more from around the Central Division:
- Jackson heard a lot of boos from the crowd as the visiting Pistons lost to the Thunder, the team Jackson spent his first three seasons with, on Friday, but he anticipated that reaction, David Mayo of MLive.com relays. “I kind of love to be hated. It’s flattering,” Jackson said. “I think it’s the greatest kind of love. It’s love and spite at the same time. They wouldn’t boo me if I didn’t do anything to build some memories here, so obviously, if they booed me, that means I did something special.”
- The Bucks‘ slow start can partly be attributed to their drop in defensive efficiency this season compared to last season after Milwaukee signed Greg Monroe and traded center Zaza Pachulia, Keith P. Smith of RealGM.com details. Monroe, as Smith notes, is a talented offensive player, but Pachulia is a rugged defender and is adept at switching on pick-and-rolls — which is something the Bucks appear to be missing, Smith adds.
- Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy Jr., who underwent back surgery in September after re-signing with Chicago during the summer, will visit a doctor on Monday after experiencing soreness, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relays. “We should have a better update after that,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. Dunleavy had been increasing his individual workouts without incident as recently as last week, according to Johnson.