Jackson, Withey take ‘crash course’ in loss to Bucks
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Pierre Jackson’s summer league debut Sunday in Las Vegas had all the makings of a great story – a hometown kid breaking in to the NBA in front of friends and family. Unfortunately for Jackson, his game preparation was similar to that of a student who waited until a day before a big exam to study.
Due to a complicated draft-night trade, Jackson was unable to practice with his teammates until Saturday morning. With only one Pelicans practice under his belt, the 5-foot-10 point guard showed flashes of why he was drafted – particularly passing-wise – but otherwise struggled during New Orleans’ 69-61 loss to Milwaukee.
Jackson finished 1-for-7 from the floor and committed three turnovers, though he settled down after two quick miscues and handed out three assists. In front of numerous local supporters, Jackson appeared to be playing at a breakneck speed in his initial moments as a pro.
“I was nervous – I’m not going to lie to you,” Jackson said. “I was trying to do everything right, instead of just playing my game and letting it flow. I’m not real familiar with the offense yet. I was just going out there trying to play.”
Fellow Pelicans rookie Jeff Withey produced a similar stat line, going 1-for-5 from the field. The Kansas product finished with two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.
Under the circumstances, New Orleans summer league head coach Bryan Gates was encouraged by both players’ effort. Withey also had practiced just once.
“I thought they did a good job,” Gates said. “They had one practice, then had to play in a game. They’ll get it. They’re definitely on a crash course. They’ll be better tomorrow.”
New Orleans (1-1) is right back in action Monday afternoon for Game 3 of pool play. The Pelicans will face the Cleveland Cavaliers at 5 p.m. Central (3 p.m. local in Nevada).
The summer team continued to receive strong play from its starting backcourt. Brian Roberts paced New Orleans with 20 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Austin Rivers followed up his 24-point Game 1 with 15 points on 7-for-16 shooting.
Overall though, the Pelicans couldn’t overcome their 34.3 percent shooting performance from the field. Jackson vowed that he and the team will bounce back and play much more effectively with another day of time together.
“I missed some shots that I usually make,” the Baylor product said. “I’m not upset or anything by the way I played. I have the utmost confidence in myself. I think I can come back and play better tomorrow.”