Remember: the Clippers were aiming to add Darren Collison, but Collison decided to stay retired, so LA has been in the market for another ball handler.
Jackson is quite a bit different from Collison, however.
While Collison is more of a “pure” point guard who looks to pass before he shoots, Jackson is a score-first combo guard who actually fills a similar role to Lou Williams, which is what makes this signing pretty interesting.
Can the Clippers play Williams and Jackson together?
The Oklahoma City Thunder tried that with Jackson and Russell Westbrook, and because neither could really shoot from the perimeter, it did not work out particularly well.
Jackson isn’t completely bereft of an outside shot, but he will never be confused for a good 3-point shooter, as he owns a lifetime mark of 33.5 percent from beyond the arc.
It should be noted that Jackson has shown improvement shooting from deep recently, as he has made 37.8 percent of his triples in 14 games this season (he had been dealing with a back injury for most of the year), and over the course of a full 82-game last year, Jackson shot 36.9 percent from distance.
If Jackson can maintain that level of efficiency from the perimeter, then this could end up being a spectacular get for the Clips, as he and Williams could send defenses scrambling.
But really, this feels more like a depth signing than anything else.
Jackson could spell Williams when Williams is hurt and/or in foul trouble, and he could also serve as the primary ball handler in a lineup that includes Patrick Beverley.
Beverley is a good enough 3-point shooter to serve as a spot-up guy off Jackson’s drive and kicks, so I can certainly see those two working well together.
I really don’t want to downplay this signing, because Jackson is a guy who can drop 30 at moment’s notice. But at the same time, a tiger doesn’t change its stripes.
Over the course of his career, Jackson has been a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer (career true shooting percentage of 52.3 percent), and he doesn’t get to the free-throw line nearly as much as you would think for a guy as quick as he is (2.5 free-throw attempts per game).
It’s not like Jackson will hurt the Clippers. Again, at worst, he is an end-of-the-bench piece who might be able to spark the team in a playoff game.
But this addition will not work in the same fashion as Collison would have, because Collison doesn’t need to get his own shot regularly to be effective.
Regardless, the Clippers probably didn’t need to add anyone. This is, by and large, the most talented team in basketball, and when everyone is hitting on all cylinders, they are nearly impossible to beat.
So, anything Jackson gives Los Angeles is just gravy. And who knows? Maybe he will provide the Clippers with a huge lift off the bench.
And, if anything, this keeps him away from the Los Angeles Lakers, who were also looking to sign Collison and seemed like the favorite to get him. The Lakers are looking to find an upgrade over Rajon Rondo, so they’ll have to keep looking.
There are just legitimate questions about the fit of Reggie Jackson on the LA Clippers.