After a stellar 2015/16 campaign in which they qualified for the playoffs and showcased their potential in a first-round series with the Cavaliers, the Pistons took a significant leap backwards in 2016/17.
Although the team struggled across the board last year, much of the team’s general disappointment can be traced either directly or indirectly to the injury that sidelined point guard Reggie Jackson for over a month to start the season.
When Jackson finally did return to the court after undergoing platelet-rich plasma injections to treat a knee issue, the Pistons were a far cry from the unit that fired on all cylinders the year prior.
As Jackson struggled to regain form, Detroit big man Andre Drummond struggled as well, initially unable to establish the same connection with his point guard that helped him to a career season in 2015/16.
While backup point guard Ish Smith performed admirably when called to fill in for Jackson, much of Detroit’s struggles in 2016/17 can be attributed to the fact that the dynamic inside-outside combination the club relied on previously was missing.
The resulting campaign can be summed up rather simply: the Pistons dropped from 44 wins to 37 and missed the playoffs.
Meanwhile Drummond’s line of 16.2 points and 14.8 boards per game in 2015/16 fell to 13.6 and 13.8 last season, while Jackson’s own line plummeted from 18.8 points and 6.2 assists per game down to 14.5 and 5.2.
Not surprisingly, the pair have found themselves front and center in trade rumors since partway through season. While Stan Van Gundy didn’t end up pulling the trigger on any deals, it’s been written that the barrage of speculation impacted Drummond.
The question we have for readers in this Community Shootaround is whether Drummond and Jackson should be moved as soon as the franchise can get a reasonable return or whether the Pistons should hold on to the tandem because their value couldn’t possibly dip lower.
Put another way, will 2017/18 mark a bounce back season for two former up-and-coming young stars? Should they be given the benefit of the doubt? Weigh in below.