Is Reggie Jackson an Elite Fantasy Basketball Point Guard?
After being traded for each other in a three-way deal in the middle of the 2014-2015 season, both Reggie Jackson and Enes Kanter saw huge statistical improvements playing big minutes for their new teams.
Both signed big contract extensions in their new cities, but while Kanter’s role seems pretty well defined in Oklahoma City as the third scoring option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Jackson’s seems even bigger with Detroit.
However, what makes Jackson so intriguing from a fantasy prospective is that he was playing very similar minutes in both cities last season. However, his production and usage skyrocketed once he got to Detroit, while his efficiency stayed relatively the same.
In the 27 games Jackson played in a Pistons uniform last season, he posted a Usage Rate of 28.6 percent, which would have ranked him inside the top 20 in that category stretched out for the entire season. Compare that to a 22.1 percent Usage Rate in his time last season for the Thunder, where he averaged nearly five points per game fewer.
While his two-point shooting decreased from 49 percent to 46 in Detroit, Jackson improved his three-point shooting to a modest 33.7 percent, which is about five percentage points better post-trade. But, scoring is only one of the areas of vast improvement for Jackson after coming to Detroit.
Pick and Roll Leads to Increased Assists
The most notable increase in statistics from a fantasy perspective last season for Jackson outside of the points was his assist numbers. Jackson wasn’t able to display his facilitating skills in Oklahoma City where he was used sparingly as a ball handler under Westbrook. However, once he got into Stan Van Gundy’s system of running the pick and roll with great frequency, Jackson’s facilitating skills came into light.
Jackson averaged 9.2 assists per game in his 27 games as a Piston last season, and his Assist Percentage was a remarkable 51.2 percent. If that were sustained for the entire season, Jackson would have easily led the league in the stat.
A big reason for Jackson’s jump in assists was the pick and roll. According to NBA.com's ranking of frequency percentage of pick and rolls, four of the top five players are on the Pistons. Jackson ran the pick and roll 61.7 percent of the time in Detroit and, in only 27 games, scored 290 points off the pick and roll.
If he held those same averages in 82 games last season, he would have led the league in points off the pick and roll by nearly 200 points over the next highest guy, last year’s leader, Damian Lillard at 689 points.
However, while Jackson’s statistical jump is nice, his impact on the Pistons as a whole might be just as valuable. Jackson really helped the value of a certain Detroit big man, and Jackson’s arrival could vault the pair of them into being top-25 fantasy assets this season.
Reggie Jackson’s Impact on Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond may be one of the more intriguing young big men in the league. His talent and potential are almost limitless, but until Jackson came over to the Pistons, his offensive upside was limited.
However, Jackson had a profound impact on Drummond’s offense.
Before Jackson was traded to the Pistons, Drummond had 7 games with at least 20 points in the Pistons’ first 55 games. In the final 27 games played with Jackson, Drummond had 7 more 20-point games, including a 32-point performance against the Heat where he made an insane 14 of 17 attempts from the field.
These two paired in the pick and roll is going to be very tough to stop for opposing defenses. Drummond’s hands and athletic ability along with Jackson’s quickness and passing ability could be deadly.
However, Drummond has about a month to sign an extension or he will become a free agent next summer. You can bet the Pistons want to lock up Drummond to keep their deadly pick and roll combo aligned for many years.
Jackson’s Fantasy Outlook
Jackson is almost sure to be a top-25 fantasy pick this year in your drafts if he can continue his numbers from after the trade deadline. There is some concern over Brandon Jennings coming back after his injury last season, but Jackson was just given $80 million and Jennings is on the final year of his deal and coming off of a serious injury.
You’re not going to get much from an efficiency standpoint with Jackson. He had a nERD ranking of -0.4 last season, which is below the league average of zero, and while he could end up being above average in field goal percentage next season, he has never shot better than 44 percent from the field when playing 28 or more minutes per game.
Plus, as evidenced by his late-season dominance in daily fantasy formats last season, Jackson can put up serious fantasy stat lines on a nightly basis.
Don’t let him slip out of the third round in your upcoming fantasy drafts.