Summer League Players in Review: Darnell Jackson

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The third and final installment of my "Summer League Players in Review" series will focus on Cleveland Cavaliers forward Darnell Jackson, who was sent down on assignment to play with the Erie BayHawks twice last year.

Jackson is a second-year power forward, which puts him in direct competition with the Cavs' first round pick last year, J.J. Hickson. With Hickson unable to compete in Summer League due to injury, Las Vegas was an opportunity for Jackson to show the Cavs organization why he ought to be part of the franchise's plan for the future and—perhaps more importantly for a team with championship aspirations this season—the present.

The Cleveland coaching staff made it no secret that they were going to use these Summer League games to evaluate Jackson. The former Kansas Jayhawk played a team-high 29 minutes per game. On the plus side, he averaged a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game, attempted the second most free throws (32) and converted them at a respectable 71.9 percent clip. He was also third on the team in scoring (10.6 ppg).

On the flipside, Jackson did not shoot the ball well. He made just 15 of 39 shots (38.5 percent), the lowest percentage among frontcourt players on their Summer League squad. That number is not going to impress coaches, especially in Summer League where defense is not typical of NBA intensity.

The bottom line is that Jackson didn't bomb at Summer League. His rebounding numbers were strong and he showed promise, but his low shooting percentage and lack of a breakout performance will likely keep him behind Hickson on the depth charts.

Could it result in another stint or two in Erie this season? With the Cavs focused on winning now, it's possible. Jackson appears to be more of a talent for the future than a key cog in a 2010 NBA championship. It'll be great for Erie, if Jackson sees more time as a BayHawk. For Jackson, he needs to take the lessons learned from Summer League and spend the next few months working on problem areas. Then, come into camp ready to challenge Hickson and the Cavaliers frontcourt veterans for a spot in what promises to be a very competitive playing rotation.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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