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Pistons urge Reggie Jackson to be himself

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — A new and improved Reggie Jackson was set to take shape at The Palace on Tuesday.

And Wednesday night against the 76ers, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is hoping the new Jackson will continue to grow.

After urging from teammates and Van Gundy, Jackson is being challenged to "be yourself and don't worry about what a prototypical NBA point guard is supposed to be."

And what type of player is Jackson supposed to be?

"It is somebody who is going to do whatever it takes to win," Jackson said. "I am a gifted scorer. I can attack gaps. I can shoot the ball. I have to go out and play ball and be very aggressive and score."

Jackson needed some time to reflect on a subpar performance against the Jazz last weekend.

In addition to zero assists in the loss, Jackson relaxed on a key play, watched Dante Exum run down a ball and slide a pass to teammate Rodney Hood that gave the Jazz a 78-71 lead. Van Gundy pulled Jackson after the play.

On the trip home, some teammates told Jackson to be himself, and he said he got the message.

"I want to go out and be who I was made to be rather than what fits this perfect point guard in the NBA or whatever that is," Jackson said. "I am just going to go out and be more relaxed from this point forward."

The Pistons are 2-10 since Jackson was acquired in a trade with the Thunder. He's run hot and cold, and his inconsistency has been troubling.

Part of the problem may be that Jackson has been through three full practices since joining the team.

Still, Van Gundy has a vision of what he expects Jackson to be.

"I want him to be himself and be that at a high level," Van Gundy said. "I don't think at this level you are going to change guys' games. ... I think guys need to play to their strengths rather than be somebody they are not. That is what I tried to talk to Reggie about. Play his game, play it hard and play it as well as he can."

Van Gundy also said it's too early to make changes despite Jackson's struggles.

"I don't know him well enough as a player or a person to make changes," Van Gundy said. "We can tell him what we want from him defensively, show film. But I just want him to play."

terry.foster@detroitnews.com

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