With his NBA rights controlled by the New Orleans Pelicans, rookie guard Pierre Jackson doesn't have any say in the length of his D-League stay. If there's any pent-up frustration inside him, however, he apparently knows just how to unleash it.
The former Baylor star etched his name in the D-League record books with a 58-point outburst in his Idaho Stampede's 136-122 win over the Texas Legends on Tuesday:
Whether attacking the basket or firing from deep, Jackson just had one of those special, tossing-seashells-in-the-ocean type of nights.
As CBS Sports' Matt Moore noted, "there's a little bit of gunning in the performance," but there's nothing egregious about his stat line. Not only did Jackson shoot 72.7 percent from the field (24-of-33) and 53.8 percent from distance (7-of-13), but he also dished out eight assists (against only two turnovers) in his 45 minutes of work.
Not surprisingly, Jackson leads the D-League in scoring this season, pouring in 30.2 points a night. He also checks in at No. 8 in assists, dropping 6.2 dimes per game.
So, what exactly is keeping him out of the big league?
Well, his situation with the Pelicans is complicated. He doesn't have a contract with New Orleans, perhaps explaining why the team has so far declined to give him a call-up. The Pelicans do retain his NBA rights, though, so another organization would have to acquire those before giving Jackson a shot.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported in early January that Jackson's representatives received permission to seek out a trade. Nearly one month later, though, he hasn't moved.
There may be more than a complicated situation standing in his way.
"Credit that to the fear associated with sub-6'0" guards," Bleacher Report's own Jonathan Wasserman wrote in an article last week. "Jackson measured in at 5'10.5" with an equally tiny 5'10" wingspan, numbers that cloud his offensive outlook and crush his defensive potential."
Jackson deserves a chance to showcase his skills on the big stage, but the NBA's hesitation to give him that opportunity isn't completely shocking, as D-League production isn't exactly guaranteed to carry over. The record he broke (53 points) belonged to Morris Almond and Will Conroy, players who each had cups of coffee in the NBA before continuing their careers overseas.
Jackson's story won't necessarily follow that script, but it's at least a reason why NBA teams aren't going nuts over his numbers.
Still, someone's going to see a stat sheet they can't resist. Maybe this record-breaking box score will wind up being the one.
Statistics used courtesy of Stats.NBADLeague.com.