By all accounts, the 2016-17 season was a huge disappointment for the Detroit Pistons.
After making the playoffs in the year prior, they missed out in the last campaign and failed to progress as many had expected under head coach Stan Van Gundy.
A large reason for their struggles was down to the form of their star players such as Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson.
Drummond failed to build on the performances that earned him his first All-Star nod and Jackson was unable to find any consistency as he was dealing with a knee injury.
The point guard was largely ineffective and has admitted that he wasn't able to give it all due to his health and feels he let his team down with his limitations.
“The pain I could tolerate,” Jackson said. “It was just the lack of explosion and the feeling you’re letting your teammates down out here — especially with the goals we had set last year.”
The Pistons locker room was toxic at some points last year as Jackson's teammates reportedly called him out for his play during a players' only meeting at one stage.
The 27-year-old is now determined to regain confidence and full fitness ahead of the new campaign and get back to the level that the Pistons require.
The acquisition of Avery Bradley from the Boston Celtics to partner him in the backcourt will benefit him hugely as he'll be able to defend elite point guards on his behalf.
But the former Oklahoma City Thunder man knows he can't lead the team on his own and needs Drummond to get back to an All-Star level if they are to stand a chance of making the playoffs again.
The big man has already said he accepts full responsibility for Detroit's failings last year and Jackson has been impressed with how he's approached their first week of training camp.
“He’s been amazing,” Jackson said. “Honestly, ’Dre’s consistency has been the thing that stood out to me. We all know he can be special any given night.”
With the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks all losing star players over the summer, there could be multiple postseason spots there for the taking this year and the Michigan-based franchise must be one of the teams ready to pounce.
They will begin the new campaign against the Charlotte Hornets on October 19.