Four months after the New Orleans Pelicans selected Baylor guard Pierre Jackson with the 42nd pick in the 2013 NBA draft, the 5'10 guard made himself eligible for the D-League Draft. The confusing thing about this tale is that Jackson is that the Pelicans still own his rights, despite the fact that he was still eligible for one of the 17 D-League teams to select him in the 2013 NBADL Draft.
Reasoning behind that strange predicament was that Jackson signed a deal with ASVEL Villeurbanne of the French League during the summer, after New Orleans had an outrageous amount of backcourt players after the off-season acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. Still, Jackson left France before playing a second with Villeurbanne after becoming homesick. After moving back to the states, Jackson entered the 2013 NBADL Draft to stay closer to his family in Nevada and earn a potential call-up back to the Pelicans.
While the aforementioned strength of the Pelicans' back-court makes Jackson's immediate future in the NBA a little bit hazy, Jackson will use this opportunity with Idaho to try and prove his worth to the team that selected him with the 42nd pick. Does Jackson already have the skills to crack the Pelicans' rotation or does he need to spend more time to work on his overall game? Let's try to answer that question with this video breakdown.
Penetrating To The Paint
One of the biggest concerns facing Jackson during his NBA Draft preparations was his small 5'10 frame. While his height might be considered an issue, Jackson more than makes up for it with the combination of speed and ability to drive to the basket. As apparent from the following clip that was taken from Idaho's matchup against the Bakersfield Jam, Jackson is easily able to swim his way through the Jam defense as he works his way to the paint. For a player as young as Jackson, it's great to see that while he has the speed to work around the majority of defenders, he's also able to control that speed in an instant.
While he's great at using his muscular frame to work his way to the rim, Jackson's biggest strength comes with his solid ability to work in the pick and roll. In his first two games with the Stampede, he's already developed a PnR relationship with fellow D-League rookie Richard Howell and Idaho vet Dallas Lauderdale. The combination of his overall athletic ability and patience in the pick and roll should help elevate his overall NBA potential, despite the fact that he's only 5'10.
As the unofficial gatekeeper of the Stampede offense, Pierre Jackson is asked to carry the scoring load alongside Howell and fellow guard Dee Bost. Though the season is still extremely young, Jackson has etched a nice spot as the number one option for Idaho. As previously mentioned, he is a tremendous guard in terms of penetrating from the perimeter and attacking the basket but his skills towards the perimeter will hopefully look to improve during his time with Idaho. Against Bakersfield, Jackson was able to be the most effective when he utilized his step-back pull-up jumper. This shot is ideal for someone of Jackson's height as he's able to create space away from his defender to get an open look. While it wasn't so apparent in the game against the Jam, Jackson has amazing potential as a catch and shoot prospect because of his quick and smooth shooting stroke.
Though the 5'10 Jackson is held to the task of being Idaho's main scorer, he's also asked to lead the team as a distributor. Since his days with Baylor, Jackson has always struggled with that particular task because of continued issues with his decision making ability. Those issues seem to be working their way to the D-League as he's currently averaging an eye-popping 5.0 turnovers per contest in the short two game season.
Probably the biggest reasoning behind Jackson's success and failures as a distributor can be pointed back to fact that he's constantly moving around the court when he has the ball. As you can see from the video, Jackson is easily able to drive to the rim and kick it out to a cutting teammate or an open perimeter shooter. While those positives are clear from his 4.5 assists per game, Jackson's up-tempo style of play could lead to multiple issues. For example, those cross-court passes to the perimeter have a certain level of danger depending on a variety of different factors. While the season is still extremely young, Jackson's work as the overall leader of the Stampede offense will undoubtedly be in question.
Though Jackson has only played two NBADL games, it's already easy to tell the 5'10 guard has a future in the NBA. Could it be with the Pelicans? Maybe. But their abundance of back-court players makes things a little bit more tricky. As he currently stands, Jackson is one of the more lethal offensive guards in the league. With the combination of speed, athleticism and a solid jumper, Jackson can be an extremely intriguing Stampede prospect.
With that said, Jackson's "out of control" nature could continue to a variety of different issues. While his five turnovers per game will probably decrease as the season goes on, it's still a concern as he continues to audition for a potential role with either the Pelicans or another NBA team that's in search for an offensive weapon for their back-court rotation.