Debacle in Detroit
Despite it only being the ninth week of the NBA season, it’s kind of hard not to take notice to what’s been going on. Russel Westbrook stacking up the triple-doubles, chemistry beginning to form in Golden State, LeBron being LeBron, and why DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins deserves to play for a better team than the one he’s currently on. Although each of these topics or situations are a blog topic of its’ own, there’s something else that I have personally been keeping tabs on since the season started. Specifically speaking, the Detroit Pistons and their lack of heart since the return of Reggie Jackson.
Now understand, that I am a journalist first before I am a fan, so despite being utterly unhappy with the way the team has played since the return of Jackson, I still think it would be preposterous to join the small percentage of fans calling for Jackson to be shipped out of town. Although I wouldn’t mind seeing a new face run the one spot before April’s trade deadline, (depending on who is on the market at that time) it’s simply WAY too early to jump ship and make Reggie walk the plank.
Let’s not forget, when the Pistons snagged Jackson in 2015 in a three-team trade deal, he was nothing less than a steal, recording multiple triple-doubles, setting a career high of 40 points, and helping the new imaged Pistons reach the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Oh yea, let’s not forget that five-year $80 million contract he signed later that summer.
So I’m sure by now, those of you all who are not Piston fans are scratching your heads as to why someone would want to give Jackson the boot given his short Detroit résumé.
Lets go back to last night’s routing by the Chicago Bulls, who bullied the Pistons into an embarrassing 31 point loss, winning 113-82. The blowout loss was partly Jackson’s fault, who didn’t attempt a single shot for almost the first half. Crazy! This wasn’t Jackson feeling generous in his pass happy outing last night, oh no, this was him making a statement to the team and Coach VanGundy.
Last nights game was just the frosting on the cake, as Jackson and the team have struggled to gel since his return, which is when I began to question the teams chemistry. Since the start of the season, they’ve been playing catch up, settling at the .500 mark then dropping back 3-4 games behind. Then of course with injuries and inconsistent bench play, essentially just puts them out of contention to be a factor in the redeveloping of the Eastern Conference. I mean as crazy as it sounds, it takes a collective effort from all five players in order to progress the team.
I mean seriously though, who would’ve thought the team would be more productive with first year Piston Ish Smith running the point guard position over Reggie? By the looks of things, the other four starters seem to appreciate Smiths slower, methodical approach to the success on the offensive side of the floor in contrast to Jackson’s fast break like, up-tempo approach.
Even Andre Drummond’s game seems to be off when Jackson’s in at point, and you don’t have to be a fan of the Pistons to recall the chemistry that formed between the two last season.
Back to Jackson’s action (or lack thereof), I think it’s childish, and to think VanGundy has to pull him to the side and say it’s okay to shoot, as if he were a freshman walk-on is just silly and doesn’t make anyone but himself look silly and selfish. If I were VanGundy, I would have pulled him out of the game no questions asked, but he didn’t, so what now? The players only meeting that supposedly cleared the air and tension? Yea, you all see how that helped the Piston’s scoring and chemistry woes.
I think as a coach, it would make sense to pull both Jackson and Drummond into the office and say look, Reggie, you’re no bigger than Andre in our vision of the team’s success, and vice versa. I really feel that it’s up to the two stars to sort it out not just on the court or in practice, but personally sit down and talk out the specifics as to what needs to be done in order to turn the season around before it gets too far out of hand. Bottom line, I think as a professional basketball player or athlete even, it’s inevitable to be able to adjust to different players tempos, skill-sets, and playing styles.