The Detroit Pistons have been one of the league’s most disappointing teams. A year after winning 44 games and making the playoffs for the first time since 2009, Detroit is currently 35-41; good for 10th place in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons would need a perfect ending as they are 2.5 games behind Indiana and Miami, who hold the seventh and eighth seeds.
The problem hasn’t been on defense where the Pistons are sixth in points allowed (102.3 points per game). The biggest reason for the Pistons struggles have come on offense. Detroit is 26th in the league in scoring (101 points per game).
There are many areas to blame. Most of the Pistons rotation is filled with players who are inconsistent. A prime example is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is averaging 14.1 points per game. The shooting guard has played in 71 of 76 games this year. In 24 of those games he has failed to reach double-figures in scoring.
Marcus Morris (14.2 points per game) is shooting only 42 percent from the field. You can’t blame Tobias Harris who is averaging 16.1 points per game, or Andre Drummond, who is putting up 14.1 points and 14 rebounds per game.
Remember when John Wall threw Reggie Jackson under the bus, basically stating that he gets paid like him, thanks to the CBA rule. Jackson went on to have a big season as a full-time starter in 2015-16, averaging 18.8 points and 6.2 assists per game.
Things have changed since the end of last season. This year, Jackson is averaging 14.5 points and 5.2 assists per game. He has struggled not only on the floor at times, but he has had a lingering knee injury.
Don’t misunderstand, Jackson has had his moments, such as the begininning of January. In the first five games of the month, he averaged 23.8 points and 5.5 assists per game. The problem is that he hasn’t had another productive string of games.
Last week, Jackson was shut down indefinitely with a knee injury. It’s unclear when he will make his return. Backup point guard Ish Smith has been called upon to start.
Over the last three games, Smith is averaging 18.3 points and 5.3 assists per game. Smith is shooting 49 percent from the field and has only three total turnovers. Unlike Jackson, Smith brings energy consistently, and seems to be the more engaged individual.
Smith also proved how clutch he can be with a game-winning three-pointer with 28 seconds to play against Brooklyn on Thursday.
The 28-year old is a more reliable defender than Jackson, while also a better playmaker. Of course, Jackson is a better scorer and the more intriguing name.
Smith isn’t getting $80 million over five-years like Jackson. Smith is on a three-year, $18 million contract. That’s a good value contract for a top-tier backup lead guard.
Don’t be surprised if Smith takes over as the lead guard with Jackson shifting into a sixth-man role.
And how can you not like a backup guard who blocks shots?
Most Blocks, 2016-17, Detroit Pistons:
1) Andre Drummond, 75.
2) Tobias Harris, 33.
3) Aron Baynes, 32.
4) Ish Smith, 29.
— Dave Hogg 📎 (@Stareagle) March 19, 2017