Pierre Jackson's D-League Scoring Surge
It isn’t often that a 5-foot-10 point guard is scoring 40 points at the professional level, but that’s exactly what Pierre Jackson has done this season for the Idaho Stampede. Three times this month, to be exact.
The rookie from Baylor has taken a long and eventful road to reach the D-League but he’s still looking for more.
After graduating from Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas, Jackson was under recruited and attended the College of Southern Idaho. In his sophomore season, Jackson averaged 18.6 points per game, was named the NJCAA Division I Player of the Year, and led the Golden Eagles to a NJCAA National Championship.
Jackson accepted a scholarship from Baylor where the Bears reached the Elite 8 in his junior year. He averaged 13.8 points and 5.9 assists per game as expectations grew. Jackson led the Big 12 in the points (19.8) and assists (7.8) per game in his senior season, but Baylor just missed the NCAA tournament and ended up in the NIT. Jackson still went out with a bang, scoring 17 points and dishing out 10 assists in the NIT title game where he earned MVP honors in a 74-54 win over Iowa.
Despite his collegiate accolades, Jackson slipped to the 42nd overall pick of the NBA Draft. He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers but was traded immediately to the New Orleans Pelicans as a part of the Jrue Holiday-Nerlens Noel deal. In an interesting turn of events, Jackson went on to sign with a team from France, but never played a game overseas. He was reportedly homesick and came back to the U.S. to enter the D-League draft, although his rights were still owned by the Pelicans.
The Stampede selected Jackson with the fourth overall pick of the D-League draft and he has lived up to the billing. He leads the league in scoring, as he’s putting up 28.5 points per contest, while he’s also averaging 4.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Friday night, Jackson impressed in a 129-126 double overtime victory over the Texas Legends. He finished with 41 points (15-26 FG, 6-12 3FG), four assists, three steals, and two rebounds along with the go-ahead jumper that gave the Stampede a 127-126 lead. After a loss to Texas last night, the Stampede are currently 9-4 and atop of the West Division.
After his 41-point outburst, Jackson tweeted, “If you didn’t watch our game tonight you missed out!! Great win for us!!!!” followed by “#theysleep!” in referring to his critics who have repeatedly overlooked him. Well, if Jackson continues to play at this level, #theywontsleep much longer.
Jackson has shown his lights out scoring ability, shooting 44 percent from the field this season, in addition to his quickness and vision. He utilizes a hesitation move that freezes defenders while he blows by and attacks the basket. Jackson seems to have an extra gear when attacking off the dribble. He’s also demonstrated the ability to hit from deep with a 40 percent display from three-point range.
His biggest flaw has been occasional reckless play that results in turnovers. At times Jackson plays too fast which can be seen as he’s averaging 4.5 turnovers per game. There are also questions about his size, but he’s shown the quickness and athleticism to compensate for it.
With his athleticism, scoring skill set, and shorter frame, Jackson will naturally draw comparisons to Nate Robinson. They may not be too far off, as both can play either guard spot and score in bunches. If the Pelicans continue to struggle, they may need to consider calling up Jackson for some minutes.
“I’ve been through a lot of obstacles in my playing career,” Jackson said in a halftime interview on Friday. “I achieved a lot but I’m still willing to do more.”
With the way Jackson is playing, he may have a shot to do more at the next level very soon.