By: Will Burchfield
The Pistons held a players-only meeting on Saturday after their 15-point loss to the Pacers, a defeat that dropped them to 14-15 on the season and 3-5 since the return of Reggie Jackson.
On Monday, Andre Drummond told reporters that the team “had to come to grips” with Jackson taking over for Ish Smith as the starting point guard.
“The team meeting was really positive,” said Drummond, via Rod Beard of the Detroit News. “There were no negatives that could have been said. We really needed to air out some situations where we all had the same common ground.
“We felt like there was a lot of tension because we just added Reggie back so we had to come to grips with the way he plays – it’s not going to be the same type of style that Ish plays. We had to put it out there that Reggie demands the ball more than Ish does; we have to get used to playing the same way we used to play last year.”
With Jackson on the floor, the Pistons usually run a pick-and-roll offense, which can slow down ball movement and lead to a narrower distribution of shots. Smith, on the other hand, is more of a free-wheeling guard whose play seems to get everyone involved on offense.
“We were used to moving so freely with Ish playing because he doesn’t really demand the ball as much,” Drummond explained. “But with Reggie being back, there’s a lot of pick-and-roll and a lot of motion going on that some guys don’t get as many touches in previous months.
“Guys accepted it. It’s a wake-up call; it’s a whole different system now that Reggie’s back. We’ve all come to grips with it and tonight, hopefully we’ll come out and play the right way. It was an open conversation and everybody spoke. I said what I had to say and it stuck with everybody, so it’s going to have to show tonight. ”
After recovering from knee tendinitis, Jackson made his return to the lineup on Dec. 4 versus the Magic. He tallied 18 points and four assists in his debut, but the Pistons’ 98-92 loss was a sign of things to come. Since Jackson’s return, they’ve averaged 95 points per game. They were averaging 100.4 before it.
Perhaps coincidentally (perhaps not), Jackson’s best performance to date came in the Pistons’ loss on Saturday. He scored 19 points and added ten assists. He’s averaged 14.3 points and 4.8 assists in 25.9 minutes per game thus far.
If certain players feel they aren’t getting enough touches, Drummond suggested they need to think about what’s best for the team.
“At the end of the day, we’re all humans. We can’t be mad at each other for that,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re all basketball players and we all believe that we deserve to shoot a certain amount of shots but we’re not going to always get those shots. The sooner we realize that, the better.
“For me, I went through a stretch where I wasn’t getting certain touches in the paint. It’s human nature to feel that way. You have to move on and try to put yourself in a position to help your team win in a different way. Maybe scoring is not in the cards for you that night; maybe I need to grab some rebounds, block shots, get some steals and be a ball-mover. When guys start to realize that and see the bigger picture, we’ll be fine.”
The Pistons are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, half a game behind the Bulls for the final playoff spot. They visit Chicago tonight.