With upwards towards eight to nine guards already gracing the roster, it's safe to say the Phoenix Suns have a bit of a log jam at the one and two positions. As such, the likes of Archie Goodwin and Tyler Ennis have each gotten plenty of reps this season already with the D-League affiliated Bakersfield Jam.
Goodwin was on assignment during the 2015 NBA D-League Showcase this past week, and surely didn't disappoint. He was rewarded with Most Valuable Player honors at the annual event, but as fate would have it, there was another player who ultimately led the Jam to the deciding Showcase cup victory over the Grand Rapids Drive.
That would be none other than Joe Jackson, the guard who stands at approximately 6'0" and 170 pounds. Leading up to the Showcase, Jackson has spent his time in the D-League by serving as somewhat of a fiery spark plug off the bench for Bakersfield. In thirteen games, he's boasted modest, but highly efficient numbers of 11.7 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 steals. What's more, he's shot an impressive 54% from the field, 46% from deep, and 83% from the charity stripe.
Ironically enough, another positive impact he makes is often something that fails to appear on the box score. Instead, he steps up as a defensive pest, delivering necessary pressure on opposing ball handlers.
"That's a strength of mine. I'm one of the quickest guys in the world! Lateral quickness is something I use to my advantage as a small guard," he told RidiculousUpside.com at the Showcase. "I pick guys up on both feet when they don't want to get picked up. All I'm doing is forcing them to run time down on the clock, when they want to try and run a play. I like to speed things up."
But against Grand Rapids, Jackson emerged as more of the starring attraction. Leading his team in points and assists with an impressive 24 and 5, he stepped up in the clutch as the Jam pulled away with the victory.
Needless to say, he certainly picked an ideal time to start and shine. Aside from the fact that the likes of Goodwin and Ennis sometimes overshadow the already present minor leaguers on the roster, how did such a new found opportunity for Jackson come about?
"I was hurt the first twelve games of the season. That's why people are probably just starting to hear about me again now. It's a great blessing to come out here during the biggest game and play great," he added. "No matter what game it is, though, I give it my all, because you never know when it could be all done. Everyday is a blessing to be able to get up every morning and run and jump. There are some guys that can't do it right now."
Jackson continued, asserting, "I feel good. My mindset when I hit the court is simply to leave everything I have out there. I want to do it on both ends of the floor. I love the game so much, so I don't get too [caught up with] all of the statistics. I just want to win. I want to play the game the right way."
The 22 year old appears to be a level-headed player. He's someone who knows never to get too high or too low, regardless of the respective ups and downs such a season can deliver. And while his impressive Showcase outing may have been enough to turn the heads of NBA and international executives all across the gym, Jackson appears to understand a slow and steady mentality often wins the race. He's focused on what he can do with this present opportunity.
"The ultimate goal, while I'm here in Bakersfield, is to win. That's what I want to do, wherever I'm at. If the time comes when I get an opportunity to go showcase my skills at the next level, and it'll help my life, I've got to do it," he concluded. For now, I want to buy into everything that going on in Bakersfield. I want to get better and continue to shoot the ball."