Frank Jackson isn’t guaranteed a spot on the Phoenix Suns roster when their season tips off in four weeks. Even so, the 2016-17 Duke basketball guard now at least has a somewhat decent opportunity to impress the reigning regular-season champs in training camp next week.
And if that goes well, Jackson, a native of Arizona’s neighbor to the north, Utah, could see enough minutes to demonstrate his bulk-scoring potential in the Suns’ four preseason games spanning the first two weeks of October.
On Tuesday night, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Phoenix (64-18 last season) is signing the 6-foot-3, 205-pound breakneck specialist to a non-guaranteed contract. The move leaves the Suns with only a few more spots to fill if they want to max out their preseason roster at 20 before dwindling it down to 15 for opening night.
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Sure, the competition for backcourt minutes behind Chris Paul and Devin Booker looks relatively deep with the likes of Cameron Payne, Damion Lee, Josh Okogie, Duane Washington Jr., and Landry Shamet.
Plus, Jackson’s production has been dry in places, namely in the distribution and 3-point departments. The 24-year-old averaged a career-high 10.6 points in his 53 games for the Detroit Pistons last season, but his 1.0 assists per game and 30.8-percent shooting from deep likely contributed to the franchise not bringing him back.
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Still, Jackson has plenty of time to improve and prove his lasting worth in the NBA, a chance he’s yet to see for a winning team.
Since going No. 31 overall at the 2017 NBA Draft and sitting out a year with a foot injury, Jackson has not played for a squad that has even come close to winning half its games. No, his combined four seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons have coincided with team records of 33-49, 30-42, 20-52, and 23-59.
As a Duke basketball one-and-done, Frank Jackson was a part-time starter and played in all but one game for the 28-9 Blue Devils, averaging 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.
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