Before Wednesday's matchup between the Idaho Stampede and Maine Red Claws, Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA writer for Yahoo! Sports, reported that Pierre Jackson was excused from the game due to the chance of him being traded before Thursday's deadline. As of now, he is still with the New Orleans Pelicans, but there is a possibility that he has played his last game with the Stampede.
With Jackson on the sidelines, it was up to the Stampede's other All-Star, Dee Bost, to pick up the slack.
So far this season, the 6-foot-2 guard has been averaging 16.3 points, 8.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest.
But this was a weird night for the Stampede. Other than Pierre Jackson, they were without Kellen Thornton, EJ Singler and Dallas Lauderdale due to injuries. They were therefore left with Dexter Strickland as their one and only substitute off the bench. Nevertheless, Bost was not fazed. Not only did he play all 48 minutes, but he had his most complete game to date, scoring 29 points, dishing out 14 assists and pulling down seven rebounds. He also had two steals and just three turnovers. He converted on 12 of his 28 shot attempts and 4-for-8 from downtown.
At the half, Kevin Murphy was leading the way for the Stampede, yet they had no answer for the Red Claws' Frank Gaines and found themselves down by six points. However, thanks to a balanced attack in the third, which saw everyone on the Stampede contribute with at least five points, they outscored the Red Claws by 18, giving them a 12-point lead heading in the fourth. And in the opening seven minutes of the final frame, Bost sparked an impressive 25-0 by scoring nine points and dishing out two assists.
The Stampede ended up winning by a final score of 122-99.
Bost has been putting up big numbers all season long in Idaho, but over the last few months, he has shown great signs of improvement with his jump-shot. During the month of December, he was knocking down just 28 percent of his threes and was shooting only 34.5 percent from the floor. In seven games this month, he has bumped those numbers up to 31.4 percent from three and 43 percent from the field. There is still a lot of work to be done before he develops into a reliable knockdown shooter, but the key here is that he is improving. Other than that, he's built up a reputation as one of the D-League's best playmakers since the 2013-2014 campaign tipped off and has proven himself as a more than capable scorer.
If Pierre Jackson has indeed played his last game as a member of the Stampede, Bost has the chance to take on an even bigger role and as he proved last night, he's more than capable of taking on that responsibility.