Pierre Jackson, No. 29 (Mock Draft)
The Thunder select a sparkplug PG for their bench.
by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33
The problem with drafting for Oklahoma City this late in the Draft is twofold: 1) Their biggest need will have already been addressed with their first pick, whether it is used on a player (I picked Cody Zeller, but another big man could be selected there) or used in a trade for a more established guy, and 2) The team is so freakishly loaded that they don’t really need anything else.
On that second point, yeah, Oklahoma City can really use someone who can score off the bounce when Russell Westbrook isn’t playing or a dead-eye shooter if they can’t re-sign Kevin Martin, but neither of those things are really available with the 29th pick in the Draft. (NOTE: I may or may not have let out a flurry of obscenities when I saw Indiana took Reggie Bullock in this mock, he would have been perfect for OKC). At least nobody at an elite level.
If we’re really reaching for something the Thunder need, how about a backup point guard who isn’t going to be 39 in August? Yes, Derek Fisher was brilliant in the Playoffs last season, averaging 9.7 points per game after Westbrook went down with a meniscus tear in his right knee, but he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire before that. Fisher averaged 4.1 points and 0.7 assists per game with a PER of 7, which was the lowest on the team.
Digging further into the advanced stats, Fisher had the lowest Assist Percentage of his career, the fewest Win Shares of his career and the worst Win Shares per 48 minutes of his career. Yes, I know that what Fisher brings to a team can’t be measured with statistics. His leadership, intelligence and all those other synonyms for intangibles that Skip Bayless tries to use when he idiotically discusses Tim Tebow are what make Fisher valuable to any team, especially a young team like Oklahoma City.
But with how guys like Kevin Durant and Westbrook have matured and become leaders of this team, Fisher’s role isn’t as necessary. I’d love to see him as an assistant to Scott Brooks, whether this year or next, but I think his playing career is over.
With that in mind, I think the Thunder look for PG depth here, behind Westbrook and Reggie Jackson. Luckily for them, this Draft is very deep at PG, with guys like Lorenzo Brown of NC State, Isaiah Canaan of Murray State, Erick Green of Virginia Tech, Pierre Jackson of Baylor and Myck Kabongo of Texas all being worthy of being selected here.
For this pick, OKC will take only one of those guys to play in an Elite Eight in his career.
With the 29th in the 2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select…
Pierre Jackson from Baylor.
Drafting Jackson wouldn’t immediately make Oklahoma City the favorites to win the NBA Finals next season or anything, but the 5-10 PG would provide the Thunder with something they desperately need: bench scoring. OKC was 22nd in the League with 29.8 points per game off of the bench. Of course, you can argue that those numbers are a bit inflated, as Martin started games on the bench, only to play the fourth most minutes per game on the team, as well as in crunch time. Per 82games.com, Martin played the fourth most “clutch” minutes on the Thunder and had the highest +/- on the team.
Drafting Jackson would immediately bolster a Thunder bench that’s desperate for a spark plug off the bench, a la Nate Robinson. Even if the Thunder have Reggie Jackson, who came on quite nicely with 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in the Playoffs on 47.9 percent shooting from the field and 89.7 percent shooting from the line, having a true PG like Pierre Jackson can give the Thunder the flexibility to use a tweener like Reggie Jackson at shooting guard, giving the team one of the quickest and most dynamic bench backcourts in the League.
Jackson has had one of the more unorthodox paths to the NBA in this Draft: He was lightly recruited out of high school in Nevada, which led to him attending the College of Southern Idaho for two years. After dominating at that level—he averaged 18.6 points and 4.4 assists per game as a sophomore, led his team to the NJCAA National Title, was a First-Team All-American, the NJCAA Player of the Year and the MVP of the NJCAA National Championship Tournament—Jackson transferred to Baylor and lit up the Big XII for two seasons.
As a junior, Jackson averaged 13.8 points and 5.9 assists per game (good for 11th and third in the conference, respectively) for a Bears team that made it to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual National Champion Kentucky. Jackson helped lead Baylor to their highest ranking in school history at No. 3.
In his senior year, Jackson led the Big XII in scoring and assists, averaging 19.8 points and 7.1 assists per contest. The Bears didn’t quite live up to expectations (they began the season ranked 18/19 in the country and were out of the polls for good after four weeks), but they did end up winning the NIT, with Jackson being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after averaging 19.6 points and 11 assists during the tournament.
For his career, Jackson was twice named Second-Team All-Big XII, First-Team Big XII All-Rookie team and an AP Honorable Mention All-American as a junior. He was also the pre-season Big XII Player of the Year as a senior. Jackson was a darling of the advanced metrics community, leading the Big XII in Win Shares, Offensive Win Shares, Points Produced, Usage Percentage and Assist Percentage in his senior year.
As a prospect, Jackson gets knocked for only being 5-10, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in talent. Jackson can break down anyone off the dribble and get to the hole and has a solid jumper that he can make from out to the three-point line. He’s an excellent ball handler and is very good at finding and setting up his teammates, putting them in positions to score. On defense, he is a menace, averaging 1.6 steals in his time in Waco.
Of course, Jackson will suffer from the usual short PG issues: posted up by taller PGs, overpowered by stronger PGs, has to work extra hard to get shots off, needs to develop a floater for when he gets into the lane and takes on big men, whatever. Oklahoma City doesn’t need him to come in right away and dominate, he needs to be an effective player when Westbrook and Jackson struggle (odds of that happening in 2013, maybe even 2014: slim).
Jackson will obviously get compared to other short, quick, explosive PGs who can fill it up like Robinson and Isaiah Thomas or, as I like to call it, “the exact opposite of Derek Fisher.”
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Cavs||Otto Porter||16||Celtics||Mason Plumee|
|2||Magic||Nerlens Noel||17||Hawks||Lucas Nogueira|
|3||Wizards||Anthony Bennett||18||Hawks||Tony Mitchell|
|4||Bobcats||Ben McLemore||19||Cavs||Sergey Karasev|
|5||Suns||Victor Oladipo||20||Bulls||Gorgui Dieng|
|6||Pelicans||Trey Burke||21||Jazz||Ricky Ledo|
|7||Kings||CJ McCollum||22||Nets||Dennis Schroeder|
|8||Pistons||Michael Carter-Williams||23||Pacers||Reggie Bullock|
|9||TWolves||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||24||Knicks||Nate Wolters|
|10||Blazers||Shabazz Muhammad||25||Clippers||Jamaal Franklin|
|11||Sixers||Steven Adams||26||TWolves||Rudy Gobert|
|12||Thunder||Cody Zeller||27||Nuggets||Allen Crabbe|
|13||Mavs||Alex Len||28||Spurs||Giannis Adetokunbo|
|14||Jazz||Shane Larkin||29||Thunder||Pierre Jackson|