By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT - As much as Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy likes his new point guard Reggie Jackson, he seemed equally impressed Friday with how the Pistons went about acquiring Jackson at the trade deadline from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"All those other [point guards] went for a least one first round pick somewhere," Van Gundy said. "They initially had asked for a first, and we stayed out of that, which we think is really, really good, preserve our major assets going forward for a guy that we think has got a chance to be an outstanding player and I think fits what we're trying to do really, really well. Great in pick-and-rolls, bigger, more athletic, somebody we're really excited about."
To land Jackson, the Pistons gave up guard D.J. Augustin - who had started for the team since the injury to Brandon Jennings - along with forward Kyle Singler and a second-round draft picks in 2017 and 2019. While Van Gundy said Jennings still has a place with the Pistons, the coach made it clear the organization views Jackson as a major building block.
Jackson is only 24 years old, which makes him a good match for the youthful Pistons. Van Gundy expressed excitement about what will happen as those young players mature collectively.
"You've got to have some patience, but I'm not all that patient, so hopefully it'll come together sooner, but you do see a window there, and it's not a short window," Van Gundy said. "It's not a two-year, three-year window. We could very well be – well we will be, the rest of this year, where – other than Tayshaun [Prince] and Caron [Butler], who have AARP cards, that those other four spots will be guys 24 and younger, and so you've got a chance to really build something here.
"We had possibilities at some other things that would have been more short-term, older guys, and the coach in me was willing to maybe go that direction at times, but didn't take long in the discussions, again, for the whole group to sort of decide, 'Look, we've got good young guys. We need to add other good young players and let this thing grow,'" Van Gundy continued. "So it may not be as immediate as everybody would like, but I think people can see what we're trying to do and where we're headed and be pretty positive about it. I know we are."
Van Gundy said the organization did not even see trading for Jackson as a possibility two weeks earlier, but as soon as the opportunity arose to do so, the Pistons were anxious to make the move.
"We thought, quite honestly, that we'd be waiting 'til the summer to really make a major move on a guy that we considered a major piece of what we wanted to do," Van Gundy said, "and we were able to get it done now and sort of accelerate things, so we were pretty happy about that.
"We wanted another really good young player," Van Gundy added. "We really want to put together a core of guys that can grow together and on a similar timeline, and I think that's what Reggie fit better than any of the other point guards is he's a young guy. That's what we wanted – a group that could grow together."
Pistons forward Caron Butler appreciated that Detroit took care to make a move that would help the team but not change it too much.
"One of the things that I'll always take from Coach and his statements that he's been putting out there is that he's not going to mortgage the future, and I think, in these trades, he did not do that," Butler said. "Brandon Jennings still here, Reggie Jackson is coming aboard, along with the core guys in Greg [Monroe] and Andre [Drummond], and KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope], so you look at that, along with Jodie [Meeks] and all the pieces around it, and we've got a real good ball club."
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