It’s been a world tour for Pierre Jackson’s professional basketball career.
Originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 42nd overall pick of the 2013 NBA draft, he actually didn’t set foot on an NBA court for a regular-season game until 2016.
During that time, Jackson shuffled back and forth between the then NBA D-League and overseas leagues. His professional debut came in the fall of 2013 with the then Idaho Stampede when he was selected to the NBA D-League All-Star Game.
That season, he set a D-League record of 58 points in a single game. That same season, he signed a contract with Fenerbahce Ulker of the Turkish Basketball League. His time there only lasted six games until he returned stateside.
Since then, Jackson has played for the Dallas Mavericks, had a couple summer league tours, played in the G League with the Texas Legends, and played for Cedvita Zagreb in Croatia, Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, and the Bejing Fly Dragons in China.
He had just returned from China and was playing with the South Bay Lakers, the G League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers before the season was suspended due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Having been able to experience professional basketball leagues all over the world, Jackson considers himself fortunate to have learned different styles of play. In China, for example, he was the focal point of the team.
“It was a good situation for me. I got to be out there and play at a high level and be the focal point of the offense. It was one of the better seasons I’ve had in my career,” Jackson told Ridiculous Upside. “It’s all different styles. I’m fortunate enough to be able to compete in different styles. I’m also fortunate to be here long enough to be able to be thrown from the G League/D League, NBA, Europe, and China and fit right in.”
Despite his size, Jackson was always considered an NBA level prospect. On a Baylor team that was loaded with future NBA and professional talent in Quincy Acy, Cory Jefferson, Perry Jones III, and Quincy Miller, he often stood out and led the team in scoring and assists.
He played well during his summer league opportunities, but the one factor that he believes kept him from becoming an NBA mainstay is his unfortunate bout with injuries.
Back in 2014, Jackson was playing with the 76ers in the Orlando Summer League when tore his Achilles. He still signed a contract with them that offseason, but the team cut him before the NBA regular season began after learning how long he’d be out.
When he finally got his NBA shot with Dallas during the 2015-16 season, he strained his hamstring and was cut a couple of days later. He’s been healthy since then and is awaiting another opportunity.
“I think that’s the only reason. Every time I’ve had a chance, I had a torn Achilles, on my 10-day I strained my groin,” Jackson said. “I think that’s unfortunate, but that’s what we play for, we’ve just got to fight through that.”
Before the G League season was abruptly halted, Jackson was looking to fit in with the South Bay Lakers. He joined the team on Jan. 17 and made his debut on Jan 25. In his opening game, he had 26 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. On Feb. 29, Jackson had a season-high 38 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, in a win.
In 16 games with South Bay, including 13 starts, he was averaging 20.8 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range, 4.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.8 steals.
He’s always been a solid player overall in all facets of the game and that’s what he feels he can bring to an NBA team.
“I can run a team, I can bring that scoring punch off the bench. Being who I am, but on a shorter stint, not as much,” Jackson said. “I’ve played 40 minutes a game wherever else I’ve played, but I can do that in 10-15 minutes, however much time they give me.”
It’s unclear what will happen with the 2019-20 G League season. There’s been no official word on whether it’s possible to salvage it, or if it will be scrapped altogether.
But before that, Jackson had done enough to warrant another NBA look. Whether an NBA team actually gives him an opportunity, that remains to be seen.
“I tell my agent, don’t tell me anything until its official,” Jackson said. “I’m just trying to focus on what I’m focusing on right now and once it’s official, he can call me and blow me up. But until then I’m going to keep grinding.”