Pistons reserve guard Frank Jackson hasn’t missed a beat since coming back from a month hiatus with an ankle injury and COVID protocols.
Jackson made his first shot — a 3-pointer — Tuesday night in his return game and finished with 11 points (5-for-11 shooting) and two rebounds against the Denver Nuggets. He’s averaging 10.7 points and 1.6 rebounds.
“When he came in,” Pistons guard Cade Cunningham said, “it felt like he hadn’t missed any time with how he was getting to his shots. He’s still getting the same looks that he’s been getting.
“That was super impressive for me, and to have him back is going to be a huge help. He’s a big piece for us — scoring the ball and just getting the ball moving and playing hard. We’re all super happy to have Frank back.”
Jackson is fired up for the opportunity.
“I’m proud to wear Detroit across my chest. … It’s always good to rejuvenate, get your body back right. COVID is no joke, too. It took me out a couple days, but the (medical) staff is incredible here to work with me and get me right.”
Pistons coach Dwane Casey enjoys having Jackson’s skills and effervescent personality back.
“One thing he does,” said Casey, “is he gives you spacing. Some guys in our league, you can hang off of and help off of, and not really guard. But with him, wherever he is, there’s an alley to drive and that really helped Cade’s driving game, all of our guys’ driving game, because of the respect they have for Frank.
“It was good to see. He’s not even in tip-top game condition yet. It gives you another weapon, and spacing the floor, when they do converge on Cade.
“He plays in the style of play we want to be and have to be. He gives us defense and that’s an intangible. He is so energetic and plays with a lot of intensity. A lot of shooters use defense as rest time, but Frank doesn’t do that. And he’s one of our best 3-point shooters. His pace is so fast that he can confuse a defense, and that’s what we’re trying to get all our guys to do consistently.”
Jackson, who played at Duke, also impresses off the court.
“I told his mom and dad — they were here (in Orlando), that they’ve done a great job. He’s a great young man. Great with the fans. Great with his teammates.”
Grant closer to game action
Pistons leading scorer Jerami Grant (20.1 points) has been out since Dec. 10 after thumb surgery and because of COVID protocols.
“He’s been cleared by the league and is in the reconditioning program now,” Casey said. “We’ll see where he is Saturday. … It’s great to get Jerami back.”
Pistons at Magic
►Tipoff: 7 p.m., Friday, Amway Center, Orlando
►Outlook: The Pistons (11-36) will try breaking a three-game losing streak against Orlando (9-40) — a team they’ve beaten twice this season in Detroit by scores of 110-103 (Oct. 30) and 97-92 (Jan. 8).