Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a rotating panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic. Today's contributors are ESPN Fantasy's Jim McCormick, Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.
Reggie Jackson missed the first month of the season because of a knee injury but seemed to be hitting his stride in January, when he averaged 19.6 PPG, 1.7 3PPG, 5.8 APG, 3.0 RPG, 46.4 FG% and 84.1 FT%. However, his production in eight February games has been a mess: 8.5 PPG, 0.8 3-PPG, 5.9 APG, 1.6 RPG, 32.9 FG% and 87.5 FT%. Considering Jackson's recent struggles and the trade buzz surrounding the point guard, do you recommend cutting him or buying low for the second half of the season?
Joe Kaiser: We're to the part of the season when waiting for anyone to figure things out is often a bad idea. In the time it might take for a player like Jackson to get going again, you run the risk of being passed in the standings. Right now, Jackson doesn't look like the same player on either end of the court that he was before the knee procedure, and it's safe to say that Ish Smith is outplaying him.
I don't expect the Pistons to trade Jackson while he's playing this poorly -- they'd be selling low if they did -- but I do think Jackson is a risky player to keep if you're in the hunt for a playoff spot. He is just hurting you too much in too many categories and not a factor in points leagues either. I'd recommend cutting him and adding someone who can better address your team's needs.
Kyle Soppe: I don't think you can cut him while he is healthy and in Detroit (players who average more than 28 minutes per game aren't typically on the waiver wire), and while I'm not thrilled about buying low on him, I do believe that there is some value to extract here. Our fantasy game is one about winning categories, and Jackson (averaging more than five assists in six of his past seven games with six steals and three 3-pointers over that stretch) can be a cheap acquisition, should your team be deficient in specific areas. His per-minute assist numbers are similar to last season, and considering that he is shooting 38.5 percent from 16 feet and beyond (career high), all is not lost here.
Long story short: You need to bite the bullet for now if you own Jackson. If your team is desperate for assists and 3-pointers, I'd consider taking advantage of what is sure to be a low asking price and acquire his services and send out a low-ball offer. Acquire him on the cheap, and the potential reward outweighs the risk, but if the asking price is closer to his January value, don't try to talk the other owner into it -- not worth it.
John Cregan: It looks as if Jackson aggravated his knee injury (perhaps during the Feb. 4 game against the Timberwolves). It's not just his subpar offense. Over the past 10 days, Jackson has been a major defensive liability. He can't defend opposing guards, which means he has to cede minutes to players physically capable of defending their position (paging Ish Smith).
None of these issues gets fixed by a trade: just time. But I can't recommend cutting him in medium-to-deep leagues. Conversely, the possibility of a trade could make Jackson a solid speculative add. Of the three suitors mentioned in Jackson rumors, a move to Orlando would definitely boost his fortunes. If he went to Minnesota in a hypothetical Ricky Rubio deal, he'd have to deal with Kris Dunn. And I can't see the Pelicans swapping Jrue Holiday, so Jackson would be on combo-guard duty in New Orleans.