Reggie Jackson signed with the Clippers after being bought out by the Pistons on Tuesday, according to ESPN. The Lakers, who have been searching for backcourt help, were reportedly hopeful they could sign the veteran point guard ahead of their rival.
Guard Reggie Jackson has agreed to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons and plans to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers upon clearing waivers, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 18, 2020
Jackson has been an enigma throughout his NBA career. He has at times been a prolific scorer and pick-and-roll threat, but he has also been plagued by inefficient shooting. The Clippers, who already acquired Marcus Morris at the trade deadline to fortify their bench, would love the 29-year-old to pick up offensive responsibilities alongside Lou Williams when the backup unit is on the floor.
The Lakers missed out on bringing in a guard at the deadline, and they were unable to convince Darren Collison to come out of retirement. So, how much does losing the Jackson sweepstakes hurt them as they try to best the Clippers atop the Western Conference? Here is a breakdown of the situation:
How might Reggie Jackson have helped the Lakers?
The Lakers have struggled to fill the gaps when point-LeBron James isn't in the game. Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley have been disappointments, and the team has been actively looking for ways to improve its backcourt rotation via outside additions.
Jackson would have almost certainly been a step up for Los Angeles' bench, and his recent play for the Pistons after missing two months to injury suggests his possible pairing with Kyle Kuzma would have been effective. Jackson has averaged 16.6 points and 5.3 assists in 12 contests since returning from back problems, and Detroit outscored its opponents by an average of 3.9 points per game when he was on the floor, as opposed to being outscored by 5.5 points per game when he sat. He meshed with stretch-forward Christian Wood, and he also shot 39 percent from deep.
Will Reggie Jackson actually make the Clippers better?
It's impossible to know for sure.
As mentioned earlier, Jackson can be locked in and productive for long stretches and then underwhelming at other points. A winning situation — something he didn't see much of in Detroit — could help him find consistency, as could an array of sharpshooters he can find after driving into the lane. The passion he plays with will be fun to watch alongside Montrezl Harrell, an energetic big man who will likely run plenty of pick-and-rolls with him.
The Clippers top bench unit could look something like this moving forward: Jackson, Lou Williams/Landry Shamet, Marcus Morris, JaMychal Green, Harrell. That's a pretty great group of role players that looks much better than what the Lakers currently have to offer.
Most important, though, is the injury insurance Jackson will provide the already deep Clippers. Patrick Beverley is currently out with a groin injury, and it's unknown when he'll return.
Who could the Lakers turn to now?
Last week, the Lakers were reportedly considering Dion Waiters after he was let go by the Grizzlies (who had acquired him from Miami). JR Smith has also been on their radar.
It's possible other guards will be bought out, though it seems unlikely someone of Jackson's caliber will become available to the Lakers.