Jaren Jackson's Hot Shooting Continued But Wasn't Enough As Pacers Ruined His Return To Indiana

Anthony Sain

Memphis Grizzlies second-year big Jaren Jackson Jr. has made a turn for the better with his recent play. Monday, he and his Grizzly teammates traveled to the city where Jaren's high school career flourished - Indianapolis, Indiana but the Pacers wanted no part of celebrating his return.

Jackson's father, Jaren Sr., played for the CBA’s Fort Wayne Fury in 1996 and later became an assistant coach with the NBA G-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants which lead to Jaren Jr. playing high school basketball in the area.  Jackson made his return to the area that he mostly called home but the Pacers would ruin his return as well as his performance upswing, as the Grizzlies would lose to the Pacers 126-114. Jackson would finish the game with 28 points, 5 rebounds as well as making 6 of 8 three-pointers. 

Jackson Jr. has had a rocky start to his sophomore campaign so far this year.  Struggles with finding his role within first-year head coach Taylor Jenkins' offense as well as being plagued by foul trouble has caused a delay in his growth after a strong rookie season that had him named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Jackson's bad play culminated in a 137-121 win over Minnesota in which Jackson finished scoreless in 15 minutes of action with three fouls.  This might also have served as his turning point as he has bounced back well lately averaging 18.2 points per game in the 9 games since then. He has also amazingly shot 52 percent from three-point range and 52.5 percent from the field overall.

© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson has been bringing it lately and the chemistry between himself and Ja Morant is developing more and more as well.  After having games where the combo seemed to struggle to produce at the same time, Morant and Jackson have averaged 24 points per game, (Jackson) and 22.5 points per game (Morant).  Jackson is a rare talent as a big that can stretch the floor at what looks to show the potential to be a top-tier level.

"I love threes so I'll keep shooting them," Jackson said jokingly after last Saturday's Lakers loss. "I work on threes a lot. I'm feeling good about it."

If this soon-to-be dynamic duo can keep up the momentum it will definitely lead to much more tolerable defeats as well as some unexpected victories.  If Jackson is able to overcome his weaknesses and continue to progress in the right direction he definitely return back to the form that had many locally and nationally singing his praises.

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