Van Gundy Considering Ish Smith As Starting Point Guard

By: Will Burchfield
@burchie_kid

It’s no secret that the Pistons offense has looked more fluid when Ish Smith is running the point instead of Reggie Jackson. It may not be long before Stan Van Gundy makes a corresponding change.

The Pistons coach told reporters after Friday’s practice that he is thinking about inserting Smith into the starting lineup versus the 76ers on Saturday night.

Smith was the Pistons’ starting point guard in the beginning of the season when Jackson was sidelined with a knee injury. But since Jackson returned on Dec. 4, he has started every single game. Detroit is 18-22 in that span.

Often times, the Pistons’ second unit, led by Smith, has been more productive than its first. The bench trio of Smith, Tobias Harris and Stanley Johnson, for example, had the best net rating of any trio in the league for the month of February.

The numbers tell a similar story in regard to the best four-man and five-man combos. The common denominator, in nearly every case, is Smith.

It’s seemingly for this reason that Van Gundy is considering a change.

With both point guards healthy this season, Jackson is averaging 28.3 minutes per game and Smith is averaging 20.3. But the Pistons have fared better when Smith plays more.

In games when Jackson logs more minutes than Smith, Detroit is 14-20. When the reverse is true, Detroit is 5-1.

Neither player, it should be noted, is especially efficient. Smith ranks 23rd among point guards with a real plus/minus of minus-0.13, while Jackson ranks 59th at minus-2.68.

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