Cedric Jackson to Sign 10-Day Contract With Cleveland Cavaliers

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cedric Jackson is about to become the answer to a trivia question. It's been reported by Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the BayHawks point guard will be signed to a 10-day contract by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. That would make Jackson the first *second Erie BayHawk to earn a Gatorade Call-Up since the team joined the NBA Development League. (A shout-out to Ridiculous Upside's Scott Shroeder for calling/suggesting this move by the Cavs ahead of time.)

The decision comes on the heels of injuries to Cavaliers guards Mo Williams and Delonte West. Williams is out for about a month with a shoulder injury whereas West is expected to miss just a few games with a finger injury. It remains to be seen how (or if) the Cavaliers will use Jackson, but it's definitely exciting for the former Cleveland State star to get the call-up to play with LeBron and company, arguably the best team in the NBA fresh off a sweep of the defending champion L.A. Lakers.

What it means for Jackson
The whole point of the D-League is to develop players for the NBA, so the fact that Jackson has earned that call-up is great. Now that he's there, what does he do with his opportunity? (I don't know that any call-up is going to overshadow Sundiata Gaines this season, but who knows.)

Aside from the injured Williams and West, the Cavs' official roster lists just two other guards: Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker. Even if you stretched to mention Danny Green and/or Jawad Williams, the truth of the matter is that no one left on the roster is anything close to a point guard. Unless you count LeBron. Gibson has the body of a point guard, but he's a spot-up shooter (and a good one) way before he's a traditional point guard.

Jackson is definitely not a shooter, which, oddly enough, is part of the reason I think the Cavs decided to bring him in. Between Gibson, Parker, Williams, West, LeBron, and even Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland is loaded with shooters. Jackson brings something different to the table. He's explosive off the dribble and gets to the rim as well as any point guard I've seen in the D-League this year. His 148 free throw attempts put him sixth in the league among guards. And he's really been on a tear lately, as I wrote following the BayHawks' recent four-game winning streak:

The story of the BayHawks' mini-resurgence (let's not get carried away, they're still just 10-12 on the season) has been authored by Cedric Jackson. Whether it's Ridiculous Upside's Scott Shroeder or GoErie's Duane Rankin, Jackson has been the lead story from the past few BayHawks' games and for good reason. Over the four-game winning streak, Jackson has averaged 25.3 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds. He has had some ball control issues, turning it over 4.3 times per game over that four-game stretch, but he gets a good chunk of them back, also averaging 2.3 steals.

Most impressive has been the way Jackson's been scoring. He's always been good at getting to the line, leading the team with 131 free throw attempts (Alade Aminu is second on the team with 96 attempts), but lately he's been making the most of his opportunities. During the four game streak, Jackson's shot 34-38 from the line. I'll do the math for you: that equals 89.5 percent. As someone who still struggles shooting from the field (39.4 percent for the year, 29.5 percent from 3), that kind of performance from the free throw line is huge. And it's been a major key in Erie's recent success, but Jackson hasn't had to do it alone.
With Jackson not in the lineup for tonight's game against Rio Grande Valley (Cliff Clinkscales got the start at point guard), it looks like this deal is done, pending a physical. Cleveland plays at home against Oklahoma City tomorrow night. If Jackson's not in uniform in time for that one, the Cavaliers' next game is on the road against Miami on Monday.

What it means for the BayHawks
From a business perspective, this is great news. The team/organization should be proud to have one of its own called-up to the big time. They played a major role in helping Jackson develop this season and find his niche as a pro. Now maybe they can hope the Cavs return the favor in kind by being open to sending down the likes of Danny Green at some point this season.

I'm not sure that will happen, but this call-up does show that the Cavs have been monitoring the BayHawks, and that there is a healthy relationship between the two organizations as I've heard from numerous sources. Hopefully this experience will lead to more player movement between the two teams in the future in a continued partnership that should benefit both Cleveland and Erie longterm.

On the flipside, this definitely hurts Erie as a basketball team. The BayHawks had won four of their last six games heading into this weekend's homestand against Rio Grande Valley, and Cedric Jackson was one of the most important reasons why. Ideally, Jackson gets some run in Cleveland and does enough to earn himself a spot on their roster the rest of the season. But it's possible that 10 days from now Jackson returns to the BayHawks. Even if he's back in Erie in a week and a half, that's still five or six games for the BayHawks sans Jackson. Add to Jackson's absence the injury of Mike Gansey and Erie's offensive firepower is suddenly severely depleted.

Clinkscales will take over the starting point guard duties. He's capable of running the team as a facilitator, but he doesn't have the scoring punch, lightning-quick first-step, or ability to finish at the rim like Jackson. Maybe Erie can find another Frank Tolbert-like signing from the pool of available free agents. Look for the team to focus on the power game with Alade Aminu and John Bryant getting a lot of touches inside. But truth be told, it's going to be very tough for the BayHawks to contend and win games without Jackson running the show.

What it means for Blog Talk BayHawk
I'll still be focusing my effort on the BayHawks, who are currently down by double digits in the second quarter against Rio Grande Valley, but I'll also be paying more attention to the Cavaliers over the next 10 days, tracking Jackson's progress in the NBA, which could begin as soon as tomorrow night. So be sure to check back for updates and look for Jackson in a Cavaliers uniform (my guess is as good as yours as to which of the Cavalier color combinations he'll be wearing) very soon.

*Quincy Douby was the first BayHawk to earn a Gatorade Call-Up. Douby was called up to the NBA by the Toronto Raptors last season after playing five games for the BayHawks. Jackson, however, becomes the first BayHawk called up by the team's NBA affiliate (Erie and Toronto were not aligned until this season) as well as the first BayHawk player to start the season in Erie before earning the NBA call-up. Thanks to Jeff Johns, BayHawks director of marketing and communications, for alerting me to fix this error in my original post.


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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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