SVG: Reggie Jackson’s return can give Pistons a ‘Big 3’
Auburn Hills — With three days left until the NBA trade deadline, the Pistons have made the most significant move of the trade season, adding Blake Griffin to the frontcourt with Andre Drummond.
The move took away two starting wing players, so the prevailing thought is the Pistons could be making another move before Thursday to shore up their perimeter.
Having given up Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris, there aren’t many other assets that general manager Jeff Bower has at his disposal with which to barter. That makes forming a Big Three a bit more difficult, but Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said the triumvirate already exists.
“To me, the third piece is Reggie (Jackson). That’s pretty good. That’s a pretty good three,” Van Gundy said Monday. “We’ve got it in place; we just don’t have it on the court right now.”
Jackson is progressing from his ankle injury and took some set shots after practice Monday, but still isn’t close to returning before the All-Star break, from Feb. 15-21.
The initial timeline for Jackson was 6-8 weeks from the original injury, a grade-3 sprain of the right ankle, which occurred on Dec. 26 against the Indiana Pacers. He’s still on schedule — Tuesday marks six weeks — and he’ll be re-evaluated and an update given in the next couple of weeks.
“The plan right now is hopefully he’ll be able to run over the All-Star break. They’ll get him on the Alter-G, running on lesser body weight,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think he’ll be cutting by then. It’s all a buildup. That’s the hope: 15th through 21st, he’ll be running.”
Jackson is averaging 14.6 and 5.5 assists, hitting 34 percent on 3-pointers, in 33 games this season.
The Pistons still are shorthanded in the backcourt, after Luke Kennard (foot) and Dwight Buycks (illness) missed Saturday’s win over the Miami Heat. Kennard went through walkthrough Monday and is questionable for Monday night’s game against the Trail Blazers, but Buycks has been ruled out.
To help fill the void, the Pistons have activated two-way players Kay Felder and Reggie Hearn from the Grand Rapids Drive. Both participated in walkthrough and could figure into the game plan.