Good News, Bad News: Cedric Jackson Signs Second 10-Day NBA Contract

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's official. Cedric Jackson signed his second 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kudos for Jackson for extending his stay in the NBA. While Jackson hasn't received much playing time—7 minutes to be exact—he has had the opportunity to practice and travel with a Cavs team that currently possesses the best record in the NBA, not to mention two historically great players in LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.

One can only hope that the young point guard is making the most out of his 10-going-on-20-day stay in the NBA, gleaning every bit of basketball wisdom he can from the players and coaches in Cleveland. The basketball future for Jackson is bright. Whether he finishes this season in Cleveland, Erie, or elsewhere, this NBA call-up experience should give him great momentum heading into his second year of professional basketball next season.

So that's the good news. Congratulations to Cedric Jackson.

The bad news is that the BayHawks won't be getting Jackson back in uniform for awhile now. With Erie's next four games coming against the D-League's best team, the Iowa Energy, this would've been the perfect time for Jackson to return to the lineup. Instead, as I mentioned in yesterday's piece about the team's fluctuating lineups, it's time to turn to a plan B, whatever that means.

For now, that plan appears to be Cliff Clinkscales, who has missed the past two games with injury. If he returns to the lineup Wednesday night (the team is hopeful that he will) when Erie hosts the Energy, it will certainly help the overall flow of the offense. In fact, Clinkscales leads the league in assists per 48 minutes at 12.7 and is second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.2. (For comparison's sake, Cedric Jackson ranks third and tenth, respectively).

But while Clinkscales is proficient at distributing the ball to teammates and not turning the ball over, he lacks the explosiveness and finishing ability of Jackson. And, as D-League Digest's Steve Weinman pointed out back in December, he simply doesn't have the same aggressive, attack-the-basket game that Jackson brings to the table. Clinkscales does what he does well; he just doesn't do as much as Jackson did when he was running the show.

The natural move is to rely more heavily on Alade Aminu, John Bryant, and Mike Gansey on the offensive end. That's a good and recommended strategy. The problem is none of those players make their name as a penetrating, attack-the-rim player. The BayHawks don't really have that player on their roster right now, and that makes things easier on the defense. Perimeter defenders are able to play up on the shooters, and low-post defenders are able to body-up their men, knowing they won't have to slide into position to help on many drives.

If Clinkscales is not the solution to Erie's point guard problem, re-signing Maureece Rice might be. As I wrote at the end of last season, re-capping Rice's 2008-09 season with the BayHawks, "The playoff performance against Colorado certainly highlighted Rice’s strengths. He’s got a knack for getting to the rim, which he complements with a pretty consistent stroke from the outside." That's the kind of player the BayHawks need to add if they're going to flip the script and contend for a playoff spot this season.

Unfortunately, Rice's contract situation overseas may prevent that from happening. The news today, as reported by Duane Rankin, is that Rice's Ukrainian club, Azovmash Mariupol, isn't releasing him. "His agent has indicated that the club is holding the release up," Treloar said. "I'm not sure why that is. ... There's nothing we on the club level can do."

With Jackson playing in the NBA, Rice dealing with contractual issues, and Clinkscales battling injury, 5'7" Tyc Snow, who just signed with Erie and has played sparingly in two games for the BayHawks, is the only healthy point guard option left. Snow (has anyone figured out if it's "Tic" or "Tyc" yet?) is a wonderful tale of perseverance—having tried out at every open tryout for the BayHawks only to get cut time and time again—but he's not going to lead this team to the playoffs.

These next four games against Iowa are crucial. If the BayHawks get swept (Erie is already 0-4 versus the Energy this season), they'll drop to 12-20 with just 18 games remaining. And if they don't get quality point guard play against Iowa's Curtis Stinson, one of the D-League's best point guards, a sweep is very much a possibility. Point guard plan B better be good, and they better figure it out as soon as possible.


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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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