Detroit Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson has been making quite the name for himself this season, and proving many doubters wrong about his impact as a player in the NBA.
Jackson was acquired in a midseason trade last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and left a situation he wasn’t happy with. For months prior to the trade, Jackson expressed that he wanted to be a starter in the NBA, but that simply wasn’t going to happen with Russell Westbrook manning the position in OKC. In an interview with NewsOK, Jackson talks about his situation towards the end of his tenure in Oklahoma City.
[su_quote]“It just left a bad taste when the trade went through and how things ended. Because people don’t…I don’t think they really look at the fun times I had.” Jackson said. “I (just) wasn’t happy. I knew I wasn’t going to be happy in the role that I was placed in, especially with the way everything was moving forward. It wasn’t rocket science. I think at the time we had four shooting guards on the roster. I knew I didn’t have a realistic chance of starting in the lineup…As much as both sides wanted it to work, just in no way, shape or form would it work where both parties were happy”.[/su_quote]
The disagreement with the Oklahoma City management got so far as to the point in which Jackson and his agent demanded a trade from the team. After weeks of dispute with the OKC management, the team finally found a destination for the point guard, trading him to the Detroit Pistons and finally giving him a chance to shine as an NBA starter.
The trade couldn’t have come at a better time for Jackson and his desire to be a starter in the NBA. Original Pistons starter Brandon Jennings, who had the team flourishing up until his injury, was out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. To provide an even bigger opportunity for Jackson, original backup point guard D.J. Augustin was one of the pieces lost in the OKC deal. Only veteran John Lucas III and rookie Spencer Dinwiddie were left to fill out Detroit’s point guard positions., This left Jackson to finish out the season as the team’ lone true starter and prove to the league that he belonged in an NBA starting lineup.
In the offseason, Jackson resigned with the team signing a five-year, $80 million contract and ensuring that he would be in Detroit long term. The contract didn’t come with high expectations, with many questioning the Pistons management for giving Jackson a deal that big. Jackson, has proven the critics wrong.
This season, Jackson averages 19 points per game, along with 6.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. He has notoriously been an offensive leader, and his chemistry with Pistons star center Andre Drummond has been a marvel to watch.
While he wasn’t selected to participate in this year’s NBA all-star game, his contribution and impact towards the Pistons simply can’t go unnoticed. Jackson along with Drummond have undoubtedly been the heart and soul of the Pistons this season, and have them currently sitting in the No. 8 seed spot with 30 games remaining in the season.
Jackson has played a magnificent role in bringing the Detroit Pistons back to prominence, and have fans excited for the possibility of the team’s first playoff berth since 2009. Big wins this season against NBA powerhouses such as the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and even the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors are just omens to what this team has accomplished this year. In an interview with the Detroit News, Pistons coach/president Stan Van Gundy had high praise for Jackson.
[su_quote]”He’s done a good job.. it’s a hard job because so much is on him,” Van Gundy said. “We put the ball in his hands, we expect a lot and we need him to play well. We’re not going to win many games where he’s having a bad night…that’s some pressure on him.”[/su_quote]
Time will tell if Jackson can continue to produce at a high level, but one thing is for certain, things are looking good for the team with him at the helm.