gettyimages 1039598638 Detroit Pistons Hope Jackson Will Be Ready For Opener

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons during Media Day at Little Caesars Arena on September 24, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Detroit Pistons have a new coach — and the usual amount of optimism that accompanies such a big change.

What they really could use this season is a healthy point guard.

gettyimages 940359906 Detroit Pistons Hope Jackson Will Be Ready For Opener

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 31: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons dribbles against Tim Hardaway Jr. #3 of the New York Knicks in the first quarter during their game at Madison Square Garden on March 31, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The Pistons are hopeful Reggie Jackson will be ready to play by the start of the season, although he’s still working his way back into shape following an ankle injury. Jackson went down in late December, derailing what had been a promising start for Detroit in 2017-18. Ed Stefanski, a new senior executive for the Pistons, sounds optimistic about Jackson’s health, but the point guard’s recovery isn’t complete yet.

gettyimages 979638706 Detroit Pistons Hope Jackson Will Be Ready For Opener

DETROIT, MI – JUNE 20: Dwane Casey (L) poses with Tom Gores (C) owner of the Detroit Pistons and Ed Stefanski (R) senior adviser at Little Caesars Arena on June 20, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“Reggie is fully healed. We did an MRI I think a couple weeks ago, and it’s perfect,” Stefanski said at media day Monday. “It’s just now basketball shape, and he hasn’t played all summer long.”

Detroit got off to a 19-14 start last season, but after Jackson’s injury the team floundered, and Stan Van Gundy’s tenure eventually came to an end. The Pistons now have a new coach in Dwane Casey and a new front office.

Their roster, however, looks a lot like it did at the end of last season. About a month after Jackson’s injury, Detroit acquired Blake Griffin in a trade, adding a star to the roster but also limiting the team’s flexibility.

gettyimages 924157560 Detroit Pistons Hope Jackson Will Be Ready For Opener

CHARLOTTE, NC – FEBRUARY 25: Marvin Williams #2 of the Charlotte Hornets tries to steal the ball from Blake Griffin #23 of the Detroit Pistons during their game at Spectrum Center on February 25, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Jackson eventually returned, but the Pistons weren’t able to salvage the season. If he’s healthy throughout 2018-19, that could go a long way toward helping Detroit improve.

“I’m excited to be getting on the court,” Jackson said. “I didn’t touch a court much in the summer, so I’m excited to just go ahead and love on Spalding some — get out there with my teammates and try to get back to playing basketball.”

Center Andre Drummond says he’s tried to encourage Jackson.

gettyimages 924154852 Detroit Pistons Hope Jackson Will Be Ready For Opener

CHARLOTTE, NC – FEBRUARY 25: Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons reacts after a play against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on February 25, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“He’s had a tough go at it since he’s been here, with injuries. It’s been hard for him,” Drummond said. “I’ve done a great job of just staying on him, letting him know that we do need him. ‘Don’t get down on yourself. Your time is coming.'”

In addition to Jackson’s injury, Luke Kennard had an offseason knee issue, and Jon Leuer had surgery after injuring his right knee during an offseason workout. Stefanski said Kennard and Leuer are progressing fine but are also not in basketball shape.

gettyimages 626524518 Detroit Pistons Hope Jackson Will Be Ready For Opener

CHARLOTTE, NC – NOVEMBER 29: Spencer Hawes #00 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket against Jon Leuer #30 of the Detroit Pistons during their game at Spectrum Center on November 29, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“My goal is to be back before the first game,” Leuer said. “Hopefully the last preseason game. That’s still kind of fluid right now.”

NOTES: Drummond discussed a potential addition to his game — the 3-point shot. Drummond has made five 3-pointers in his NBA career and was 0 for 11 from beyond the arc last season. “The 3-point shot’s something I’ve added six years ago. Just never had a coach that allowed me to shoot it,” he said. “I guess now is my time to really showcase it.”

© 2018 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. TMS

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