Why Derrick Rose should take over the starting PG job from Reggie Jackson
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Why Derrick Rose should take over the starting PG job from Reggie Jackson

Pistons, Derrick Rose, Reggie Jackson

The Detroit Pistons may have “no plans” to start Derrick Rose this season, but that shouldn’t be the case. He will likely provide a needed spark off the bench in his currently projected backup role, but the team would be better served by starting him over Reggie Jackson.

The idea of balancing out the Pistons’ scoring attack by bringing Rose off the bench makes sense in theory. However, their starting unit is not going to be strong enough to have the luxury of thinking about that. For reference, the projected starting unit features Jackson, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

There is a need for the Pistons to improve the capabilities of their half-court offense. They produced only 0.937 points per possession on half-court offensive possessions last season and that ranked 22nd in the NBA. A key contributing factor to that struggle was that they were the NBA’s least efficient team at finishing around the basket (excluding post-ups) within the half-court.

Last season, there were issues with the Pistons’ floor spacing with Griffin and Drummond sharing the floor and deciding to start an unreliable outside shooting threat like Brown only amplifies that concern. Having a point guard with explosiveness like Rose can help with the unit creating dribble penetration despite lesser floor spacing, unlike with Jackson, who settles for jump shots and floaters often.

The gap in efficiency between Rose and Jackson as finishers in 2018-19 was eye-opening. Jackson produced a concerning 0.862 points per possession (7th percentile) in these particular sequences, while Rose had an output of 1.211 points per possession (68th percentile). Only Kevin Knox and Tyreke Evans were less efficient than Jackson on these plays among a 153 pool of players that logged at least 150 attempts.

It’s too difficult for an NBA team to have a starting point guard who is that bad at finishing around the rim. To make matters worse, Jackson settles for jump shots often, as they accounted for 61.8 percent of his shot attempts within the half-court. It doesn’t help that he attempts floaters almost often as traditional finishes, with only a 1.9 percent difference in frequency.

The contributions that Jackson provides on the offensive end of the floor are highlighted by his pick-and-roll ball-handling and spot-up shooting, with some handoffs periodically. However, Rose is more dynamic and versatile in both pick-and-roll and handoff situations, while being vastly superior in isolation and transition.

The drawback with Rose in comparison to Jackson is the decline in catch-and-shoot capabilities that the Pistons would experience since neither are difference-makers on defense. With Rose being a more efficient off the dribble shooter and significantly better lane penetration option, the Pistons should be focused on increasing catch-and-shoot impact at other positions.