Detroit Pistons: Josh Jackson proving to be a diamond in the rough

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Josh Jackson is proving to be a vital piece of the Detroit Pistons’ rotation.

When Detroit Pistons‘ general manager Troy Weaver brought in Josh Jackson, I didn’t think much of the transaction.  My initial thought was that Jackson would compete for one of the roster’s final spots, and if he’d make the team, he’d be used sparingly throughout the year.  Boy, was I wrong!

Jackson has been one of the bright spots early on in the season for the Detroit Pistons.  In fact, Jackson led the Pistons Monday night with 27 points in a close loss to the Atlanta Hawks while making his first start of the season in the absence of Blake Griffin, who’d been sitting out the first of a back-to-back.

The Pistons’ forward was born in San Diego, California, attended high school in Detroit while living in Southfield, MI, for the first two years before moving back to California for his junior and senior years.  Signing with Detroit in early December had been considered a homecoming, so to speak, for an ‘adopted’ son of Detroit.

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On Monday’s telecast, Johnny Kane mentioned that during the Detroit Pistons pre-season photoshoot, ‘Jackson got lost in the mirror’ admiring how well he looked in Pistons’ blue.  It seems like such an innocent comment but also proves what it means to a player to enjoy where they’re playing.  Detroit isn’t just home for Jackson; it’s another opportunity for the high draft pick to avenge an average start to his NBA career.

Jackson had been initially drafted by the Phoenix Suns fourth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.  The former Kanas Jayhawk star averaged a touch over 13 points in his rookie season along with pulling down 4.6 rebounds.  Over the next two seasons, one with Phoenix and the next in Memphis, Jackson’s numbers steadily decreased.

We’re only three games into the new season, Jackson’s first with the Pistons, but he’s been able to shift the narrative playing a vital role with the team early on in the season.

Over the first two games, Jackson provided the Pistons with a spark off of their bench; in Monday’s game, Jackson excelled in his first start of the season with Blake Griffin out.  Head coach Dwane Casey opted to start Jackson and rookie Saddiq Bey moving Jerami Grant to the four, usually occupied by Griffin alongside Killian Hayes and Mason Plumlee in the lineup.

Jackson rewarded Casey by not only amassing 27 points but shooting 11 for 19 from the field, adding a pair of assists, four boards, and a steal.

The 23-year old Jackson is averaging 17.1 points per game early on for Detroit. He is sure to receive a meaningful workload moving forward if he can continue with similar performances as he showed Monday.

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Jackson may be a player the Pistons become eager to lock-up long term, but it’s much too early to tell for sure.  For now, expect Jackson to return to Detroit’s bench alongside Derrick Rose as the pair hope to pace the teams’ second-string, scoring likely playing starter-type minutes.