Pierre Jackson Has Finally Arrived

Dynamic Dallas Mavericks guard Pierre Jackson made his NBA debut three years after being drafted. It took a winding road to get to this point.

Dallas Mavericks guard Pierre Jackson made his NBA debut with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s matchup against the Houston Rockets. Jackson ran the point for the remainder of game.

He finished the Mavericks’ 123-107 loss with seven points on 2-of-5 shooting with two assists, two turnovers and a rebound.

Pierre Jackson’s debut was a long time coming. It was the culmination of three years of perseverance. Through it all, Jackson produced almost everywhere he went until the NBA finally called him his name.

The 5’11” Las Vegas native spent two seasons (2011-13) at Baylor after transferring in from the College of Southern Idaho.

Jackson led a team with five future NBA players (Quincy Miller, Perry Jones, Cory Jefferson, Quincy Acy, Taurean Prince) and one NFL player (Rico Gathers) in scoring and assists per game in both seasons.

In 2011-12 he helped the Bears get all the way to the Elite Eight, where they fell to Anthony Davis and the eventual champion Kentucky Wildcats. 2012-13 saw him lead Baylor to an NIT championship and take home MVP honors.

He finished his Division I career averaging 16.7 points, 6.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game

The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Jackson with the 42nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. His draft rights were part of the trade that sent Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans two weeks later. Jackson played for the Pelicans in the Summer League, but did not sign with the team.

He struck a deal with French team ASVEL Villeurbanne that July, but left the team two months later before the season started. Instead, the Idaho Stampede selected him in the 2013 NBA D-League draft.

Pierre Jackson had a big year in the D-League. He averaged 29.1 points, 6.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. Jackson made the 2014 D-League All-Star Game and provided plenty of highlights for the New Orleans crowd.

That season also saw him break the then-single-game scoring record by dropping 58 points on the Texas Legends. The record has since been surpassed by Jordan McRae (61 points) and Russ Smith (65), both during the 2015-16 season.

Jackson attempted to parlay this production into a big overseas contract. He left the Stampede 16 days after his 58-point game for Turkish Euroleague side Fenerbahce.

Unfortunately, he did not find the same success in Istanbul, averaging 3.7 points in 9.3 minutes over seven games before leaving the team.

Jackson sought to bounce back from the setback in 2014-15. The Pelicans traded his draft rights back to the 76ers in June 2014 in exchange for Russ Smith’s rights. This allowed him to play for Philadelphia’s Summer League team.

Sadly, he went down with a ruptured right achilles in the first game of the Orlando Summer League. The Sixers signed Jackson to a deal anyway at in late July. But the team waived him in late September when they found out his recovery would take longer than originally thought.

He still received some guaranteed money for his troubles and spent the entire 2014-15 season rehabbing.

Jackson rejoined the 76ers for summer 2015. This time he made it all the way through training camp and played in three preseason games. He was one of Philadelphia’s final roster cuts the day before the regular season began.

He returned to the Stampede in January 2016. However, he didn’t bring the same production from the first time around. Jackson played eight games for Idaho, averaging 9.1 points and 2.5 assists. The team dealt him to the Texas Legends in March, and the Legends waived him two weeks later.

The latter half of 2016 has been big for him, starting with his signing to the Portland Trail Blazers Summer League team. Jackson averaged 14.5 points and 5.0 assists in four games. He took that and signed a one-month deal with Croatian club KK Cedevita.

Jackson made the most of his time in Zagreb, averaging 20.9 points, 6.4 assists, and 2.0 steals in 7 games. Upon the completion of the contract, he returned to the States in November and rejoined the Texas Legends.

Jackson played 10 games for the Legends, starting all of them. He averaged 29.1 points on 54.3 percent shooting, 6.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. He scored 30 or more in six games, including putting up 42 in a loss to the Westchester Knicks.

That was apparently all the Mavericks needed to see before deciding to call him up. The team waived Jonathan Gibson to make room for Jackson on the roster.

Pierre Jackson is an all-around offensive player. He’s proficient at slashing to the basket, using advanced ball-handling and explosive speed to get by defenders. But he also possesses a deadly three-point shot.

He shot 37.9 percent from beyond the arc in college, 42.9 percent overseas, and 36.0 percent in the D-League.

He also has a lot of bounce in his step. Jackson recorded a 42.5″ maximum vertical at a 2013 Brooklyn Nets draft workout. He has pulled off some amazing exhibition and practice dunks. Unfortunately, he rarely has the space or opportunities to dunk in-game.

One question will be his defense. Rockets guards blew by him on multiple occasions in his debut. We’ll see if that is a matter of adjusting to NBA game speed or if he may need to improve his defensive footwork.

There was possibly a time where his size would raise questions. However, this is a league where 5’9″ Isaiah Thomas is an All-Star and former players Nate Robinson (5’9″) and Earl Boykins (5’5″) recently completed long, fruitful NBA careers.

Pierre Jackson should be able to navigate the league just fine from a height standpoint.

The Dallas Mavericks have signed a player that probably could have been in the league directly out of the NBA draft. But when that didn’t pan out, Pierre Jackson chose to charge forward and play his best until the league couldn’t ignore him.

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