If he didn't look ready it's because he wasn't. How could he have been? He was thrown into the fire and expected to perform for a high-level, championship-contending team right away as a rookie.
But when Jackson's job was snatched from him with the signing of Derek Fisher, the rookie didn't start crying about it. He started cramming information.
“I mean, you want to play but you can't really be bitter,” Jackson said of his demotion. “It was Eric's spot in the beginning. I filled in, and then they felt like the best move was to get Derek Fisher. I feel like it was a good move, too. We made the Finals. Unfortunately, we didn't win it all. But I got to learn from a great veteran.”
Now, the game is slowing down for him, and Jackson is impressing his coaches more and more by making the right decisions.
“It definitely slowed down from (Monday) to (Tuesday),” Bryant said. “It's going to even slow up tomorrow and the next day. He's feeling his way through. This is what this summer is all about, learning, feeling your way through and playing in an NBA atmosphere. And he's getting better.”
Jackson has a tendency to be indecisive and over-dribble at times. But he was as assertive as he's ever been Tuesday, attacking the rim with force or pulling up to hit the roll man or take the free-throw-line extended jump shot.
He wasn't perfect, of course. Jackson still over-penetrates on occasion, which takes away his ability to see the whole floor and make the proper play with ease. And his defense against Pacers guard Lance Stephenson was largely nonexistent, as Stephenson racked up a game-high 28 points on 10-for-14 shooting to go with seven assists and zero turnovers.
But all in all, growth is evident.
“He made great decisions with the ball,” said forward Perry Jones. “Obviously, we trust in him having the ball the whole time. He didn't have to swing it as much, but we knew he'd make the right decisions and we knew he was going to be aggressive and attack. That's what he did for us. He got to the rim for us, he got people easy shots. What more can you ask from him?”