OF THE DAY
Q. Now that the Pacers have gotten Peja in the lineup, do you not agree that he is a much better fit to fill the shoes of Reggie? I remember that Stephen Jackson was supposed to be the heir to Reggie and was going to fill that position. If you look at lifetime stats and achievements with shooting, free throws, and 3-point shooting, Peja was meant for that role. (From John in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico)
A. There is a huge difference between filling the shooting guard position and filling Reggie Miller's shoes. Stephen Jackson has experienced ups and downs as the new starter but he was not expected to replace Reggie's presence. It's possible Jackson is struggling with the pressure of following Reggie, which could be contributing to his inconsistency. Even so, he has had a productive season. His statistics (15.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.23 steals) surpass Reggie's averages in any of the previous three seasons.
What Reggie brought to the team was not measured by individual statistics. Even in his final seasons, he was a shooter that struck fear into the hearts of opposing players and coaches, a threat that required an adjustment to the defensive gameplan. Jackson does not bring that same reputation to the floor, but that's not exactly shameful. Few players in today's NBA do so. If you're disappointed in Jackson because he hasn't been Reggie, your expectations have been misplaced. Stojakovic is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history in the prime of his career and also is a true professional who quietly leads by example. Those qualities, he shares with Reggie. But it's unreasonable to expect any player to assume sole responsibility for Reggie's role. You don't compensate for the loss of a player of his impact by plugging in a different player. If it is to be done, it must be done collectively.