Reggie Jackson

Community Shootaround: Pistons Stars

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.

Central Notes: Jackson, Turner, Pacers, Bucks

The Pistons have postseason aspirations in 2017/18 and those plans will significantly hinge on the performance of Reggie JacksonJackson is coming off an injury-riddled 2016/17 season in which he was limited to 52 games and averaged just 14.5 PPG and 5.2 APG, both totals being his lowest in a single season since his 2013/14 season with the Thunder.

With Jackson a liability last year, head coach Stan Van Gundy trotted out Ish Smith in favor of Jackson. Entering this season, Smith remains the backup to Jackson at point guard; despite their standings, Smith tells Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press that Jackson has been working hard this summer and is showing glimpses of the player who averaged just under 19 PPG two seasons earlier.

“He’s out there in California enjoying himself, but he’s getting better,” Smith said. “He’s getting back to the Reggie Jackson everybody knows and loves.

Jackson’s coach echoed Smith’s sentiments, boasting about his point guard having a renewed confidence.

“He’s doing well and feeling good, and I think feeling confident too,” Van Gundy said. “Things are going in the right way so I’m going to go out there sometime in the next couple weeks and spend some time with him.”

Read additional stories around the NBA’s Central Division:

Pistons Notes: Marjanovic, Backcourt, Kennard

Long one of the NBA’s most intriguing reserve big men, Boban Marjanovic will be utilized differently this season than he was during his first under Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. Keith Langlois of the team’s official website spoke with the Van Gundy about his 7’4″ backup.

The questions are going to be how [Marjanovic’s stellar play at the end of 2016/17] holds up over time and how many minutes he can take on a nightly basis,” Van Gundy said. “Those we don’t know, but we do know that he’s got unbelievable size and skill and that’s a pretty good combination.”

With Aron Baynes now a member of the Celtics, Marjanovic figures be the primary backup to Andre Drummond, splitting duties perhaps with Jon Leuer when more mobility is required.

There’s more out of Detroit:

  • Point guard Reggie Jackson made a point of travelling to meet Avery Bradley as soon as possible, Ansar Khan of MLive writes. Jackson said he wants the new-look backcourt to hold each other accountable this season.
  • Rookie Luke Kennard will need to outplay Langston Galloway and Reggie Bullock for a prominent place in the Pistons’ rotation but in his defense he has already assuaged some concerns about his mobility that Stan Van Gundy had prior to the summer league, Keith Langlois of writes in a mailbag.
  • Big man Andre Drummond has shouldered the blame for Detroit’s lousy 2016/17 campaign, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes. “It starts with me,” Drummond said. “I didn’t come out playing the way I was supposed to. I needed to take it upon myself to be a leader this summer, to really take care of myself, take care of my body to make sure my team got better.

Pistons Notes: Irving, Jackson, Bradley

It was reported last week that the Pistons have an interest in trading for Kyrie Irving and executive/coach Stan Van Gundy had “some level of conversation” with the Cavs about a deal. Sam Amico of Amico Hoops hears that those trade discussions involved Reggie Jackson, but the trade talks didn’t advance very far. The Suns may be the favorites in the Irving sweepstakes, though Amico adds that if talks between Phoenix and Cleveland break down, the Pistons could be among the teams that new GM Koby Altman turns to next.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • While trading for Irving for will bring excitement to the Detroit, it may not be best for the franchise’s long-term plans, Rod Beard of The Detroit News contends. A deal for Irving would likely see the Pistons part with Stanley Johnson and Andre Drummond. Beard argues that Irving’s unwillingness to commit to any franchise long-term makes trading top talent for the point guard too risky of a proposition.
  • Whether or not Avery Bradley re-signs with the Pistons next offseason will determine the team’s long-term future, Beard writes in a separate piece. If Bradley bolts in free agency, the team would have given up Marcus Morris for a one-year rental and let Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leave for nothing. Beard opines that those kinds of moves tend to set franchises back.


Central Notes: Pistons, SVG, Bullock, Bucks, Kidd

In the wake of Clippers head coach Doc Rivers surrendering his front office power, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes that Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy should do the same.

In the piece, Ziller praises Rivers for giving up the power of possessing dual roles as someone who has been so famous and successful. Rivers quietly accepted a demotion and seems to have handled the transition in stride. Earlier this offseason, Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer was also stripped of his front office power with the team installing GM Travis Schlenk above him in the decision-making hierarchy.

Ziller goes on to write that Van Gundy’s 2016/17 team was extremely disappointing and comprised mostly Van Gundy acquisitions. SVG previously traded for Reggie Jackson and paid him a tremendous amount and drafted Stanley Johnson in the lottery. Both players have been monumental disappointments. Ziller argues that while Van Gundy is a talented coach, “someone else needs to be in the seat of power when it comes to roster.”

Here’s what else you should know from the Central division:

  • Pistons wing Stanley Johnson, who underwhelmed in 2016/17, lies at the heart of SVG’s vision for the team to be elite on defense, writes Keith Langois of Detroit spent most of last season as a top-10 defensive squad before finishing the season at No. 11. Van Gundy said: “I think now we have a chance to become an elite defensive team and Stanley’s a huge part of that. And then I think it’s for him to really find his offensive game and it takes some guys some time. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, his primary role will be to guard the best forward or a big two guard every night. Avery (Bradley) will take on the challenge of guarding the best guard every night and then Andre (Drummond) will take on more responsibility as a defender and that’s our way to becoming an elite defensive team.”
  • The Pistons will feature Reggie Bullock for a more prominent role this upcoming season, Ansar Khan of writes. In limited minutes in two seasons, Bullock has been the team’s best deep shooter, drilling 39.7% of his three-point attempts. Van Gundy is also high on Bullock for other reasons: “A lot of people focus on Reggie’s shooting, which is very good, but to me it’s more the way he plays the game. The ball moves when he’s out there, he makes quick decisions, he moves very well without the ball, he helps other people play well. And at the other end he defends, so he’s a two-way player who helps your team function at both ends of the floor. We’re looking forward to having Reggie back, healthier than he’s been, hopefully, and available for a lot more action because he has helped us play very well.”
  • The pressure is on for head coach Jason Kidd and his Bucks, writes James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. With many Eastern Conference teams taking significant steps backward this offseason, the athletic and upstart Bucks carry lofty expectations entering the 2017/18 season. For a detailed look at why so much is expected of Kidd and the Bucks this coming season, I highly recommend reading Blancarte’s piece.

Pelicans, Pistons Discussing Reggie Jackson Trade

The Pistons and Pelicans have discussed a trade that would send Reggie Jackson to New Orleans, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Scotto adds that New Orleans could ship out E’Twaun Moore, Alexis Ajinca, and/or Quincy Pondexter in exchange for Jackson’s services.

Jackson, 27, still has three years and $51MM left on his deal and has been on the trade block since last season’s trade deadline. The Pelicans, who re-signed Jrue Holiday to a five-year, $126MM pact, feel that a Holiday/Jackson backcourt would be successful, per Scotto.

Jackson averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 2.2 RPG in just over 27 minutes per game for the Pistons last season. However, a knee injury held him to 52 games, his lowest total since his rookie year with the Thunder.

Detroit is in a transitional phase, therefore no roster spot is safe. Aron Baynes has departed for the Celtics and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is set to sign elsewhere in free agency. While the team has acquired Anthony Tolliver, Reggie Bullock, Avery Bradley, and Langston Galloway, it’s clear that the team is focused on shorter commitments and smaller salaries.

In a possible trade, both Moore (three years, $25.9MM) and Ajinca (two years, $10.3MM) have multiple years remaining on their deals; both players provided solid contributions off the bench for New Orleans last season. Pondexter has missed the last two seasons with left knee surgery and has a $3.9MM salary for 2017/18.

Pistons Gauging Trade Market For Drummond, Jackson

The Pistons are gauging the trade market for Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As Scotto notes, Detroit initially attempted to determine Drummond’s and Jackson’s trade value around the deadline back in February.

Both Drummond and Jackson are coming off underwhelming seasons. Drummond, who inked a five-year, maximum-salary contract last summer, saw his scoring average slip from a career-high 16.2 PPG in 2015/16 to just 13.6 PPG this past season, while Jackson also failed to build on a career year, with his numbers slipping across the board — he was nagged by injuries throughout the year and was benched down the stretch.

Although Drummond and Jackson didn’t produce the way Detroit had hoped in 2016/17, they’re still the most talented players on the Pistons’ roster, making them intriguing potential trade chips. Stan Van Gundy has said he’s not looking to blow up his roster, but also expressed displeasure with the club’s showing in ’16/17, suggesting that changes could be on the way.

Even if the Pistons look to shake things up a little, a trade of either player – particularly Drummond – would qualify as a surprise. When our Dana Gauruder previewed the Pistons’ offseason earlier this week, he observed that it would be difficult for the team to get fair value in deals involving Jackson or Drummond, meaning it might make more sense to bet on them to bounce back rather than trading them.

Pistons Committed To Keeping Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons plan to match any offer that restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope receives, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

The organization is prepared to give the fourth-year shooting guard a maximum deal if that’s what it takes to keep him in Detroit, Ellis adds, with several sources saying he is an important part of the team’s future.

Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season, but his numbers declined after the All-Star break. Ellis states that the Pistons may have viewed the situation differently if they were confident that Stanley Johnson was ready to become a starter, but they believe keeping Caldwell-Pope is vital and they wouldn’t be able to get an adequate replacement because of their cap situation.

Ellis touches on several other Pistons-related matters:

  • Trade talks involving Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson will continue this offseason. Ellis states that the organization is becoming impatient with Drummond, with coach/executive Stan Van Gundy saying in Friday’s press conference that he needs a “sense of urgency to elevate his game.” Jackson’s drop in production stemmed from left knee tendinitis that plagued him throughout the season, and Ellis claims the only available replacement who might be an upgrade is the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe.
  • The Pistons believe they have enough young players and future first-rounders to acquire a star this offseason. There were rumors that Drummond was offered to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins before he was sent to New Orleans, and a source told Ellis the Pistons contacted the Pacers about Paul George but never got close to a deal. George has another season left before he can opt out, and Detroit might be interested in taking the chance that it can re-sign him, but only if the price in a trade comes down. Other targets could include Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Although the Pistons might benefit from a franchise-altering move, Van Gundy said smaller deals are more realistic. “There’s a couple things we’d like to do and make us a little bit better, but I don’t think we’re broken” he said. “Getting our point guard situation back to where it was or even better is more than feasible and corrects a great deal of the problems we’re talking about. Our roster is pretty good from there.”

Pistons Notes: KCP, Baynes, Drummond

The Pistons would like to bring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back next season, but GM Jeff Bower sounds as if the organization will wait for another team to make an offer before making any commitments, Rod Beard of The Detroit News passes along.

“With the timing of things, you never know for sure until the period begins. There is a danger because we don’t have it with any certainty,” Bower said. “Hopefully, we’re able to move along with the things we have and everything is aligned. That’s a hand we have to be ready to play, no matter what direction we go. We have a lot of control in the situation, which is something we value and expect to be able to take advantage of.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • Aron Baynes hasn’t yet made a decision on his player option for the 2017/18 campaign, which is worth $6.5MM. He’ll take his time on the decision, but staying with the Pistons remains a strong possibility, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays (Twitter links). “Being here, it kind of feels like we have some unfinished business,” Baynes said.
  • Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy must figure out if the Andre DrummondReggie Jackson pairing is the best option for the Pistons long-term, John Niyo of The Detroit News argues.Drummond has four years remaining on the max contract he signed last offseason, while Jackson has three years remaining on the five-year, $80MM deal he signed back in 2015.
  • Van Gundy feels Drummond needs to take additional steps to reach his potential, Niyo passes along in the same piece. “He needs to have a sense of urgency to elevate his game,” Van Gundy said. “He’s been in the league five years now. He’s still young, he hasn’t turned 24. The sky’s the limit for him. But he needs to do some work to get there.”

Van Gundy: Andre Drummond Needs To Improve

Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy will hold a meeting Monday with Andre Drummond to discuss the center’s future with the organization, tweets Rod Beard of the Detroit News. At a press conference today, Van Gundy expressed confidence that the 23-year-old can still be a leader in Detroit, but added that he needs to commit himself to getting better. “He needs to have a sense of urgency to elevate his game,” Van Gundy said (Twitter link). “He has the potential to be good or great, but he needs to do some work to get there.” (Twitter link).

Drummond is coming off a season in which he played 81 games, averaging 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per night. While those numbers are solid, the Pistons were hoping for more after giving him a five-year extension last summer with a potential value of more than $125MM. Detroit’s front office reportedly began to sour on Drummond as losses piled up this season and was listening to trade offers before February’s deadline. Van Gundy stated that motivation remains a concern with Drummond, adding, “It’s an issue we need to address — and probably in a different way.” (Twitter link).

There’s more from today’s meeting with reporters:

  • Van Gundy is hopeful that point guard Reggie Jackson can bounce back from an injury-filled season. “Our medical people are confident he’s back now physically,” the coach said. “What he didn’t get back to was confidence.” (Twitter link). Jackson battled tendinitis problems in his knee all the way back to training camp and was shut down in early April even though the Pistons were still in the playoff race. Van Gundy said Jackson looked good in a recent practice and should be back to normal by the start of next season (Twitter link).
  • Van Gundy says Stanley Johnson needs “a better offseason” than he had last year to secure a spot in the rotation (Twitter link). Johnson is an elite defender, but needs to improve his offensive game by making more shots and committing fewer turnovers (Twitter link).
  • Van Gundy added that the team doesn’t need “a bombshell move” to get back to the playoffs (Twitter link).
  • GM Jeff Bower, who also spoke to reporters, believes the Pistons are in a good position to help themselves through the draft. Detroit holds the 12th pick heading into next month’s lottery, and Bower says the top half of the first round is especially strong (Twitter link).
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