Reggie Jackson: From unwanted to LA’s diamond in the rough

Reggie Jackson, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Reggie Jackson, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

A dark cloud hung over Reggie Jackson’s once promising turned middling career. As he lay discarded, thrown away, and unwanted by the Detroit Pistons, retirement crept into his mind.

There were several factors behind Jackson’s thought process. For starters, both Jackson’s numbers and minutes per game were taking a huge hit. During his first two seasons in Detroit, Jackson averaged 18.2 points and 5.7 assists in just a shade over 31 minutes a night. The next two seasons, however, were a different story. Jackson’s nightly averages plummeted to 14.5 points per game and 5.2 assists in just a hair over 27 minutes a night.

Jackson, more than anything, simply couldn’t stay on the court for long stretches. As he battled to return to form, he became exhausted with the perpetual cyclical rehab process.

Thoughts of hanging up his sneaks became even more profound as Detroit began floating around the idea of waiving Jackson. Once they officially followed through with their plans, the immensely talented guard found himself unwanted by countless teams. That is, until he was thrown a life jacket of sorts by the LA Clippers.

Reggie Jackson has found his form in LA

Reunited with his best friend Paul George, Jackson played decent during his first two seasons, averaging 9.5 points per game in year one, before slightly upping his production to 10.7 in year two.

While solid during the regular season, Jackson was practically unplayable during the playoffs. In 2020, Jackson’s numbers fell considerably as he averaged just 4.9 points per game on offense and was viewed as a turnstile on defense.

Ultimately, fans grew sick and tired of Jackson’s listless defensive efforts and minuscule offensive production. If Jackson were to be shown the door, a small parade would’ve been thrown in celebration of his departure.

Nevertheless, as the boos cascaded from the rafters whenever Jackson checked into a ball game, he quickly became LA’s biggest reason for hope.

During the 2021 postseason, Jackson stepped up in a major way when Kawhi Leonard was forced to miss the remainder of the playoffs with a torn ACL. Jackson would go on to average 17.8 points on nearly 50% shooting. His numbers, once given more opportunity, continued to soar during the regular season the following year. With no Kawhi Leonard for the entire season and with Paul George missing 51 games due to a long list of injuries, Jackson dropped 16.8 points a night to go along with 4.8 assists. More importantly, he kept LA’s head above water.

Although Jackson’s Clippers failed to breakthrough the playoff barrier, they did finish the season with 42 wins.

Jackson now, like the rest of his teammates, are sitting at home in their palatial estates as the NBA Playoffs continue to rage on. That apoplectic feeling that Jackson feels, is one that could be transient.

Health provided, the 2022-23 version of this Clippers squad should become championship contenders. Both Leonard and George will man the ship as they attempt to steer LA through the Western Conference’s murky waters. Norman Powell and Robert Covington will ensure that LA is amongst the league’s best bench units.

Of course, Ty Lue will be asked to do his part, organizing mid-game adjustments with the hopes of pushing LA to one of the best records in the entire NBA. Jackson, on the other hand, will play a specific role, one that holds an immense amount of importance.

As the only viable point guard on LA’s roster, Jacobs will be given the ball first. He’ll be asked to push the pace, get their offensive players in the right place, and score at a solid, yet efficient pace.

More than his previous stop in Detroit, LA needs Jackson…maybe more than he even realizes.

Next. Ranking Paul George’s best playoff games as a Clipper. dark