When Brandon Jennings went down with a torn Achilles last season, Stan Van Gundy traded for Reggie Jackson, who came in and played well, developing some pick-and-roll chemistry with Andre Drummond. SVG liked what he saw and gave Jackson an $80 million contract this summer, making him the point guard of record in Detroit.
What happens when Jennings gets healthy and comes back?
Jennings says he is good playing a sixth-man role. At least that’s what he told CSN’s Jabari Young and Vincent Goodwill on their Point Game podcast (hat tip Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball).
“Bringing in Reggie Jackson was smart. I’m supposed to be out, really, for nine months, and they need a point guard. …
“My main thing is just to get healthy. Hey, if I have to come off the bench and be the sixth man or whatever, I’m fine with that. Man, I just want to play basketball again. I just want to get back on the court and have fun.”
One idea Van Gundy has floated is to have Jennings and Jackson play together, having Jennings be a sixth man who subs in for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (or Jodie Meeks, whoever starts at the two). In that scenario Jennings is more of the two guard on offense because he is the much better three-point shooter and can space the floor, while on defense Jackson is the better player and can guard the two spot if that is a tough matchup.
Both Jennings and Jackson were effective as Piston point guards last season (their PERs were almost identical at 19.8 and 19.7). It’s a good problem to have, so long as it doesn’t start causing divisions within the team.
I’m much higher on Detroit going into this season than many others, I think they can be a playoff team in the East. Especially if these two can blend into a two-headed monster in the backcourt.