The New Orleans Pelicans hold the draft rights still to the NBA D-League’s leading scorer and D-League All-Star Pierre Jackson. The point guard’s rights landed with New Orleans as part of the Jrue Holiday trade, but the Pelicans have yet to sign him to a deal and he has played all of the 2013-14 season with the Idaho Stampede.
Coming up to Thursday’s Trade Deadline, though, Jackson is a hot commodity as a young prospect with a ton of potential. There is almost certainly going to be either a deal that comes close to happening or a deal that does happen involving Jackson’s rights before 3 p.m. on Thursday. This scenario is so likely that Jackson is preparing himself for such a move.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Jackson asked “to be excused from” the Stampede’s game on Wednesday night to prepare himself for a potential trade. Jackson then later tweeted a goodnight message to his followers that concluded with him saying “fingers crossed,” more than likely a nod to his rights being traded and him soon realizing his NBA dreams.
In 31 games this season, Jackson has been an offensive monster in the D-League. He’s averaging a league-best 29.1 points per game while also putting up 6.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game on 44.9 percent shooting and 34.9 percent three-point shooting. Jackson also set a D-League single-game scoring record earlier this year, putting up 58 points in a contest.
Jackson is undersized even as a point guard, but there’s also no denying his offensive talent. He can create for himself and his teammates off of the dribble and can fill it up with a reliable jump shot as well. His defense is certainly a limitation, largely due to his size, but guys like Isaiah Thomas have proven that explosive offensive play can help downplay any defensive issues for small guards.
Assuming Jackson’s rights are dealt before the 3 p.m. deadline, I wouldn’t expect him to be in the D-League much longer. Jackson’s too valuable of a player and has been playing too well in the D-League for a team to trade for him and then not sign him and bring him up. From what we’re seeing, Jackson’s dominant tenure in the D-League may not last much longer.