Our staff roundtable grades continue with a look at Reggie Jackson, a fan favorite and the 2022 Clippers’ starting point guard.
Kenneth Armstrong: A-
There was way too much asked of Reggie this year. And last year’s playoffs set the expectations way too high. Nonetheless, I think Reggie deserves an A- for a few reasons: 1) He played 75 games, which is pretty incredible considering his age and how hard COVID hit the LA Clippers (as well as the league as a whole). In those 75 games, he averaged 31 minutes, which is the most he’s played since his second year with Detroit eight years ago. 2) He was a leader. We often talk about “vibes” at 213 Hoops, but Reggie brought much more than just good feelings. He was the emotional leader—especially when PG went down with his elbow injury—and was the team’s voice of reason throughout the year. 3) He made being a Clippers fan fun this year. I was lucky enough to go to the majority of the home games and there were so many moments during which Reggie got the crowd going. Whether it’s “Reggie, Reggie” chants, dancing with Chuck the Condor, or hitting big shots against the Lakers, Reggie put a smile on many, many faces within Clippers Nation.
As you can tell, I’m going with emotion on this grade. But here’s a fact: Eric Bledsoe made $18 million this year to Reggie’s $10.3M. And I think if you look at the guys around Reggie’s salary range and age (Deandre Jordan, Jeremy Lamb, Serge Ibaka, Terrence Ross), you have to be satisfied with where Reggie ended up this year in respect to production.
Lucas Hann: B+
Man, I STRUGGLE with this one. Reggie really didn’t have a good year in his role. Number 1 options shouldn’t shoot below 40% from the field… really, no NBA player should shoot below 40% from the field, unless MAYBE they exclusively take threes and hit like 38% of them and don’t take enough twos to pull the overall FG% up. That’s not what happened here. But Reggie also played about 1.5x the minutes this season as he did last year, AND had 1.5x the usage. He was everything, all of the time for the Clippers’ offense, and he had to be, because the other players who you would have hoped would step up their creative duties without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were mostly content to just play off of Reggie. Him probably being the worst offensive centerpiece in the NBA was clearly the Clippers’ biggest weakness this year, but him not doing his absolute best in a role that nobody else on the roster was equipped to even attempt likely made him the most important player in LAC finding the 42 wins that they did. So… B+, I guess?
Shapan Debnath: B+
Is it weird to give a guy that had Reggie’s splits this high of a grade? I don’t think so. Despite a clear drop off in efficiency, Reggie’s usage and responsibilities spiked, as he was often the only point guard on the team. He did everything that was asked of him without a complaint, kept the team afloat with huge shot making when needed, and was the lifeline of the offense all season with his playmaking. Reggie was the most important Clipper this year, and he damn near dragged them to the playoffs too.
Robert Flom: B+
Reggie Jackson had a fascinating 2022 season. As others said above, and as I wrote in his exit interview, he was overall a negative impact player by most stats due to his horrendous scoring efficiency and below-average defense. However, that removes all context from the situation – his being the only true shot creator or starting-level ballhandler for much of the season, the ravages of injury, and his status as a symbol of the new Clippers era. Considering the role he was thrust into, I can’t imagine him realistically playing much better – he’s simply not a number one NBA option, and shouldn’t be a second option either. Because of that, Reggie Jackson solidly exceeded expectations and earned a B+ for his 2022 campaign.
David Mendez-Yapkowitz: B
Across the board, Jackson’s shooting numbers were down compared to his career averages. But with Reggie Jackson, the 2022 season context is incredibly important. His 31.2 minutes per game is the second-highest mark for his career. Somebody needed to take shots on this team and Reggie was thrown into the fire so to speak. He’s become the heart and soul of this team. He’s arguably the most beloved player on the team by the fan base. Nic Batum said it best back in November, “Reggie can go 1-10, then he just makes a layup and the crowd starts yelling ‘Reggie, Reggie.’ He’s done everything the Clippers have asked of him plus more. He is the ideal point guard for this team by being able to play off Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as we saw in the 2021 playoffs. Unfortunately, those guys missed nearly the entire season. But put him alongside those guys again and watch his efficiency improve.
Ralston Dacanay: B+
Reggie Jackson is likely the guy on the roster that got dealt the worst hand this 2022 season. Heading into a shorthanded campaign without Kawhi Leonard, it was expected for Reggie to pick up more responsibility on the offensive end. However, with Paul George missing 51 games, Eric Bledsoe being shipped off midseason, and Norman Powell missing 22 contests, Jackson was forced to take a hyper-elevated role all year as one of the few players on the roster who could go downhill and create shots. His shooting efficiency was rough to start the year, and with few moments to catch his breath and rest his legs, as well as there being no let-up in opponents’ scouting reports as the season trudged along, Reggie could rarely find himself having an easy night offensively the rest of the way. As discussed pretty often as well though, while his lows could be really low, his highs were dramatically high too, with Reggie heroically carrying LAC to upset wins against a handful of conference rivals. Somehow, someway, Jackson and the Clippers still managed to post a 42-40 record in this roller coaster of a year. Unfortunately for Jackson, as has been the case throughout his tenure with the Clippers, upgrading the point guard spot is a dialogue that will continue to take place when it comes to this team, fair or not. Personally, I just can’t forget the last playoff run PG and Reggie put up and I think he’s proven he can be a big-time player in critical moments. This season was just brutal for Jackson’s workload, and I would not mind seeing the reloaded Clippers run it back with the fan favorite as a starter next season.
Cole Huff: B
I was someone who was maybe a little bit too tough on Reggie from the onset. I was unforgiving of his frequent highs and lows and held him to a higher standard as a player that this iteration of the Clippers needed more from if they wanted their season to go a certain way. But lost in my assessment of Reggie at the time was that he’s not, and hasn’t ever been that top option who should be relied upon for consistently playing good basketball. And that’s my fault.
So now that I look back on his season, I can see how important his sheer availability was on a nightly basis, even if the production wasn’t always there. I’ll appreciate his willingness to step into leadership roles both on and off the court this year as well. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the more efficient, reduced role Reggie once the team hopefully has health on its side.
Reggie Jackson: A-
I’ll start off by saying I grade based on more than just homework and participation; I grade on heart too. Reggie was undoubtedly the heart of this team in the Clippers’ first season without Patrick Beverley. Statistically, his efficiency plummeted without Kawhi and PG13 there, but that was more or less expected. And so he remained a fan favorite, in large part because of his abilities in the clutch. His game winner against Orlando was surreal, and repeated heroics late in games had him for large portions of the season among the league leaders in 4th quarter scoring, ending up above the likes of Karl-Anthony Town, Bradley Beal, and Jimmy Butler. Ultimately the Clippers ship sailed where Reggie steered them, with a 16-7 record when Reggie scored 20 or more. He did all that we could ask of him, and he did it with an infectious smile on his face. When Kawhi and Paul return, he’ll be back in his element, but until then: vibe on.
What do you think about Reggie Jackson’s 2022 season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.