Lemanis has some wise words for Jackson
Maybe the NBA talk is fuelling Cedric Jackson. Something certainly is as the Breakers point guard continues to light up the Australian NBL.
But coach Andrej Lemanis has some advice for his talented American on the back of his career-best offensive explosion in Thursday night's 97-76 victory over the Cairns Taipans.
Lemanis has heard the scuttlebutt about Jackson being on the NBA radar and primed for a callup from a team looking to add some quality at the point.
He also knows most of it is just hot air, with the prospect of an NBA team eating contract money and looking as far afield as New Zealand for a mid-season replacement being unlikely, to say the least.
So Lemanis is urging his best player, and unbackable favourite for league MVP, to just keep delivering the standout performances, and the rest will take care of itself.
"What [San Antonio Spurs assistant coach] Brett Brown said to me, ‘it's a global game now, and if you're any good we will know about you - don't worry about that'. There are scouts everywhere, they like the foreign leagues, and pay good attention to performances in those leagues.
"It's good he's [Jackson] getting some attention, but the best thing he can do is keep playing well. If he keeps helping his team win, that's going to continue to have him on the radar, and give him the best shot at making the NBA," Lemanis said.
Jackson would appear to have a game that at last appears good enough to grace that stage, whenever that may be. This year his finishing at the rim has improved markedly, as has his jump shot.
On Thursday, he had his career-high 32 points on just 13 shots (he was 11-of-13 from the field, two of three from deep). Lemanis called it the "quietest 32 I've seen for a long time".
That was a compliment because while Jackson was racking up the points with his whirling dervish moves to the hoop, he was also sharing the love with his team-mates, dishing out eight assists.
"When he gets that mindset about getting in the lane and making things happen, it opens up everything for him and his team-mates," added Lemanis.
Veteran forward Dillon Boucher, who played his 200th game for the club on Thursday, reckons Jackson is good enough already to grace the world's best league.
"He's better than some NBA players I've played against," said Boucher. "He's one of the fastest guys I've ever seen on a court as far as being able go round people and make moves at speed. He's phenomenal.
"I think we probably underestimate how good he is because he's playing in this league."
Boucher has seen days at training, as well as in games, where Jackson was "unstoppable".
"Some of the moves he pulls off still blow my mind. He's laying up on four people sometimes and makes it look easy. He's one of those guys when he's going at speed he's still under control."
The Breakers, with their league-best 9-3 record, now have a five-day break before they start preparing for four straight road games in the space of 14 days.
- © Fairfax NZ News