Sunday, February 22, 2015

Total Eclipse of the Chart: Reggie Jackson

"Listen to Your Chart" is now going by "Total Eclipse of the Chart" for obvious reasons.  The gist of the post will remain the same: Breaking down how a player gets his points.

The Pistons certainly made waves at the first trade deadline of Stan Van Gundy's tenure as team president.  The trade for dynamic PG Reggie Jackson has been met with mixed reactions; the detractors stating that Jackson's poor outside shooting doesn't fit well in Detroit's offense and the supporters getting behind Jackson's length, athleticism and defensive potential.  Both sides have their merits, but it's worth taking a closer look to see exactly how Jackson functioned inside an often dysfunctional Oklahoma City offense and how he may function with the Pistons.

Click "read more" for the remainder of the post...

Normally this is the part where a picture of Reggie Jackson's shot chart and shot frequency chart would appear.  Due to technical difficulties, you'll have to visit Jackson's Vorped page yourself and check them out while you follow along.

Let's start with what Jackson can do well: finish at the rim and thrive in the pick-and-roll.  Thanks to a unique combination of length (7'0 wingspan) and athleticism, Jackson is a very reliable finisher, shooting 59.6% on 136 attempts at the rim for the 2014-15 season.  Although this is a slight decrease from what DJ Augustin had done at the rim this season (61.5% on 130 attempts), Augustin hadn't had a single season above 54.5% at the rim in his six seasons before joining the Pistons.  It wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that having Andre Drummond as a pick-and-roll partner is behind Augustin's sudden improvement this year.  Reggie Jackson could see a similar leap in success running the pick-and-roll with Drummond.

Rim FG%
PnR Pts per Poss.
PnR FT Frequency
Reggie Jackson
Brandon Jennings
D.J. Augustin
(2014-15 stats via

Jackson doesn't need the help in the pick-and-roll though, coming off of finishing 9th in the NBA in PnR efficiency in 2013-14 and having another strong season in 2014-15, albeit at a decreased production rate.  Jackson is in the 84th percentile among PnR ball-handlers this season, in terms of PnR points per possession.  The puzzling part of his PnR game is his inability to get to the FT line when coming off of a pick, and in general (.194 career FTr).  A guy with his size, length and explosive athleticism should be drawing more fouls than the diminutive D.J. Augustin and the slight Brandon Jennings.  Regardless of his FTr woes, Jackson should improve the Pistons' pick-and-roll game.

Jackson struggles everywhere outside of the paint, although his mid-range jump shot from the left side of the court has been approximately average this season.  With his noted success in the paint, the biggest issue with Jackson's jump shot difficulties is the frequency with which he takes them.  Jackson has attempted 56.3% of his field goals from outside of the paint this year, up from 50.5% in '13-14.  His frustration with his role in the Oklahoma City organization has been well-documented this year, so let's hope that Jackson's poor shot selection this season has been fueled by his discontent.  If not, Detroit fans are in for a re-run of Josh Smith's perimeter game, as Jackson is an equally poor shooter.

3-10 ft. FG%
10-16 ft. FG%
16 ft. – 3pt. FG%
(2014-15 stats via Basketball-Reference)

A guard of Jackson's poor-shooting status should only be taking threes when the shot clock is running out, but that doesn't appear to be the case here.  If he insists on continuing his fondness for outside jumpers, any offensive benefit gained from his pick-and-roll excellence will be diminished.  After a season-plus of watching Josh Smith, Pistons fans deserve a break from guys who can't shoot hoisting like he's Ray Allen.  If you're looking for a reason to believe, Jackson's 3PAr had decreased from season-to-season before this year.  With an upgrade in coaching that accompanied his trade to Detroit, there may be hope for Jackson to get his 3PAr below .200 where it belongs; that being said, don't hold your breath.  This will likely be the most frustrating part of Jackson's game.

When you add it all up, I think the Reggie Jackson acquisition is a win for the Pistons.  He should make for an excellent threat in the pick-and-roll with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, giving the Pistons the identity they are searching for.  If the front office continues to add shooters to put on the floor with Jackson and the big men, Detroit's offense could take off.  The concerns about Jackson's outside shooting are only valid if he continues to launch like he has in the past.  Our horrible experience with Josh Smith suggests that it's easier said than done to convince a player of his limitations.  It may just be something we're forced to deal with while watching Jackson.  However, when it's all said and done, the Pistons are better prepared for the future than they were at 2:45 on Thursday afternoon thanks to Jackson's potential.

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