New Mavs point guard Pierre Jackson will be in uniform for tonight’s Mavs/Rockets game. It almost doesn’t matter whether he plays. Donning the No. 55 jersey alone is enough for the 25-year-old.
“I’m just happy I’m putting on a Mavericks jersey with my name on the back,” Jackson said.
The 5-foot-11 point guard has had a difficult road to the NBA, but he’s finally earned his first chance at NBA minutes. The No. 42 pick in the 2013 Draft, Jackson spent one season torching the D-League for 29.1 points per game before rupturing his Achilles the following offseason during the 2014 NBA Summer League.
While it seemed like Jackson was closer than ever to breaking through at the NBA level, that injury pushed back his climb even more. But he twisted that adversity into a positive, using the time away from the game to rehab hard — he said his doctors told him to slow down his recovery after five months because he was so far ahead of schedule — and to learn about himself as a person.
“I found myself for the most part,” Jackson said. “I was comfortable where I was. But it can happen to anybody. I had to work from the bottom. That’s definitely one of the hardest times of my life. I’m glad I went through that to get to where I am today.”
Jackson had been leading the D-League in scoring this season at 29.1 points, 6.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game for the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ D-League affiliate. Legends head coach Bob MacKinnon told Mavs.com earlier today that he believes Jackson is an NBA-caliber point guard with a much-improved floor game from his first stint in the league during the 2013-14 season, before he suffered the Achilles injury.
“He directs our offense, he gets people the ball in the right positions, and he’s also shown a great attention to detail on defense that has shown people he’s ready to compete at the NBA level,” MacKinnon said.
With the Legends, Jackson has been running a system very virtually identical to the Mavericks’, although with some tweaks. Texas plays at a much faster pace than Dallas, and of course the makeup of the roster is different, which could alter the way Jackson fits into the puzzle, but it will likely make the initiation process much smoother.
“Obviously we have the sixth all-time leading scorer ever in the NBA, Wes Matthews — I could go on about the players on the team,” Jackson said. “Just the personnel, the playbook isn’t different.”
It won’t be difficult for Jackson to find fans around here. Not only does the point guard play an entertaining brand of basketball, but he’s got some Texas roots, too, having played two years of college ball at Baylor before turning pro. He won the NIT Championship with the Bears in 2013.
He said he’s met with Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle already, but they’re going to talk more tomorrow to get him up to speed with the playbook. The Mavericks are on the second stop of a four-game, five-night stretch of schedule with each game in a different city. That fact, along with the current injury situation, could mean Jackson will see minutes soon.
So the rookie better soak up the environment very quickly, because he might hear his name called before he knows it.
The post Pierre Jackson is happy to be in a Mavericks jersey appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.