2018-19 Pelicans Season in Review: Frank Jackson
by Jim Eichenhofer
Frank Jackson
Age 20
NBA experience One season (one with Pelicans)
Games played/started 61/16

Listen to Jim Eichenhofer & Daniel Sallerson's Review of Frank Jackson's 2018-19 Performance

Season Overview

New Orleans endured one of the most adversity-filled seasons of any NBA team, but there were a few silver linings, including unexpected opportunities to contribute for several of the team’s young players. Jackson perhaps benefited as much as any Pelican during the latter portion of ’18-19, logging a similar number of minutes after the All-Star break (500) in just 17 games compared to how much he played during 44 pre-break appearances (669 minutes). His average minutes per game nearly doubled from 15.2 to 29.4 after the midseason hiatus.

“We did have kind of an unusual year, but at the same time I thought our group was still connected and super strong,” Jackson said of his teammates. “I was surrounded by a great group of guys, teaching me how I could stick in the league. It was nice this year to have so many guys on my side and willing to help me when I needed it.”

After sitting out what was supposed to be his rookie season in ’17-18 due to injury, there were high hopes that the Duke product could make an impact for a team likely to return to the playoffs. Like many first-year pros, Jackson struggled with consistency, particularly early in the campaign, but continued to improve as the year progressed. Prior to sustaining a season-ending concussion March 26, Jackson compiled 10 consecutive double-digit scoring games, including 20 points that night vs. the Hawks.

“Last year sitting out helped (the adjustment to the NBA), but you don’t get that playing experience without actually playing, obviously,” Jackson said. “There are so many games throughout the year, and you play every other night almost. It’s something I had to get used to, but I thought it was a good year for me to knock it out.

“It was a great learning experience for me, a good building year. Definitely a lot of ups and downs, learning something new every single day. Overall, I thought it was great. I’m excited for next year.”

Jackson, who will celebrate his 21st birthday May 4, plans to again spend significant time this summer training with friend and mentor Jrue Holiday in California. It’s not official yet, but Jackson also expects to play for New Orleans in NBA Summer League in July. At the top of Jackson’s goals for his second NBA season in ’19-20 will be to make another leap in consistency on the court, including in his perimeter accuracy. He had two separate months of shooting below 20 percent from three-point range (going 5 of 35 in February), but also started the year in encouraging fashion (14 of 38, which is 37 percent).

“Being consistent,” Jackson said of his objectives. “Defensively, playing better team defense and tweaking some things individually. Continuing to work on my range and my consistency (on three-pointers).

“I’m definitely a lot more comfortable and confident. Obviously playing this much, you get experience and know what it feels like to play in this league and compete at the highest level. This season has been successful. I’ve learned a lot and I’m going to continue to learn and grow every day.”



Times Jackson played 25-plus minutes over the first 48 games of New Orleans’ schedule. Beginning with a Jan. 24 trip to Oklahoma City, Jackson logged 25-plus minutes 17 times over the team’s next 28 contests.


Jackson’s rank in scoring average (8.1 ppg) among NBA rookies. Among the 15 players ranked ahead of him, 10 were lottery picks from last June (the five exceptions are Allonzo Trier, Kevin Huerter, Jalen Brunson, Landry Shamet and Rodions Kurucs). It’s an awkward comparison, but among second-year pros – most of whom were chosen in the same draft class as Jackson – his scoring average would’ve ranked 26th.


Jackson’s total assists and turnovers, respectively, after Jan. 1. In one example of his improvement in decision-making, prior to the calendar flipping to ’19, he had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio, with 13 dimes and 15 turnovers.

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