2009-10 Players in Review: Cedric Jackson

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rookie Cedric Jackson probably improved more than any BayHawks player from the beginning to the end of the season. His development was duly noted by scouts at the NBA level, too, as he earned call-ups from three NBA teams (Cleveland, San Antonio, and Washington).

At the D-League level, Jackson was one of the league's best point guards. He finished the season third in the league in assists (7.4), 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25), and fifth in steals (2.06) per game. Jackson was also a force attacking the rim. Using his lightning quick first step to get past his defender, Jackson earned a team-high 249 free throw attempts in his 34 games as a BayHawk while converting at a 72.3 percent clip. His 7.3 free throw attempts per game ranked ninth in the league. His nine double-doubles were also tied for sixth most among D-League guards.

The weak link of Jackson's game was his outside shooting. For the season, he shot 42.6 percent from the field and hit just 27 of 100 3-point attempts.

His best stretch of the season came in mid-January just prior to his first NBA call-up to the Cavs. In five games from January 10-19, Jackson averaged 36.8 minutes, 27 points, 9 assists, and 2 steals per game, and shot 47-55 from the free throw line. The BayHawks went 4-1 over that stretch. They proceeded to go 2-7 after he was called up to Cleveland.

Later in the season, team chemistry wasn't quite the same with Jackson and newly acquired Blake Ahearn in the backcourt, but that should not overshadow Jackson's development as a first-year pro. After three separate stints in the NBA, Jackson has his sights set on making an NBA roster to start the 2010-11 season. Despite limited minutes at the NBA level, I think the odds are at least 50/50 if not better that Jackson does land an NBA gig, possibly in Washington, where he finished the season on a high note.

He has NBA quickness. And at 6'3" he has good length for a point guard. Defensively he has a lot to offer. He was the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year at Cleveland State and was one of the best on-ball perimeter defenders in the D-League. Spending time in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich and in Cleveland under Mike Brown likely helped him learn some more about playing defense at the NBA level and defending the pick 'n roll.

If he doesn't make it, the reason will be shooting. Jackson should be spending hours every day this summer with a shooting coach, working to improve his outside jumper. If he can develop a respectable perimeter game to keep defenses honest, there will be nothing stopping him from earning a backup point guard role. If he remains the player he is today, he may still catch on somewhere in a niche role or he may wind up back in the D-League or playing overseas. It would be somewhat surprising to see him back with the BayHawks next season. He has NBA athleticism. If he can augment the skills he has and continue to work hard to refine his offensive game, he'll have an NBA contract as well.

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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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