The Pistons suddenly have a glut of guards since the return of Killian Hayes and Dennis Smith Jr. from injury to go with recently acquired Cory Joseph and rookie Saben Lee.
Which made it hard to see where Frank Jackson fit into the puzzle. But two things have converged to clear the fog a little bit. First is Dwane Casey’s intent on playing two point guards – or two players capable of manning the position, at least – at a time. And the second thing – and probably the most important factor – is that Jackson is getting kind of hard to ignore.
So it was again on Saturday night in Portland, when Jackson’s scoring prevented a game that eventually got away from the Pistons in the second half from doing so in the first. Down 16 early in the second quarter, Jackson’s 11 first-half points helped the Pistons close to within a point before Portland closed the half on a 8-0 run to lead by nine.
“I’ve been as impressed with Frank as much as anybody and nobody’s really talking about him,” Dwane Casey said after Jackson scored 17 points in 21 minutes of the 118-103 loss. “I’m as guilty as anyone of taking him for granted.”
A city that will forever hold Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson in its heart appreciates the value of a bench scorer who heats up in a hurry more than most fan bases. Jackson is showing signs of developing into a reliable scoring threat off of the bench, scoring in double figures in four of his last six games and in nine games since moving into the rotation 15 games ago. It’s not as easy as the ones who do it consistently make it look, but Jackson is turning into a reliable source of scoring.