As a child growing up in the early 2000's, one of the most popular book series I can remember was Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. The books were about three siblings whose parents had perished in a fire, and their new legal guardian who comes up with ghastly ways to steal the children's inheritance. The series ran over the course of 13 books, with the kids forced to overcome a different horrible and nearly fatal situation in each publication.
While Pierre Jackson's set of circumstances isn't nearly that serious, he could very easily pen his own set of novels about the series of unfortunate events that have followed him.
The first came somewhere around age 18, when he realized he was no longer growing. Standing at 5' 10", the likelihood of anyone making to the NBA is slim, but Jackson was able to separate himself from the pack with his unique skill set. During his two years at Baylor, the 24-year-old displayed incredible shiftiness, an explosive leaping ability, and a knack for knocking down shots anywhere on the floor.
Jackson proved he could make up for his deficiency in size, and was drafted by the 76ers with the 42nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He was subsequently traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. thus leading him to a new unfortunate event: the team that just didn't want him.
With too many ball handlers already on the Pelicans roster, Jackson opted to head to the D-League, where he put up stats (29.1 points on 44.9% shooting per game) that should have earned him an NBA call up. Except when Jrue Holiday went down with a stress fracture, New Orleans opted to look elsewhere for help, leaving Jackson feeling unwanted by the only NBA team he could negotiate with.
But the Sixers recognized his talent, as well as their need for a third guard, and re-acquired Jackson in exchange for Russ Smith during the 2014 NBA Draft. Finally, the Las Vegas native had the chance to showcase his skills on a team that both wanted and needed his scoring ability.
Then he tore his achilles in the first quarter of his first Orlando Summer League game with the Sixers, temporarily delaying an NBA dream that had already been unnecessarily deferred the year before.
After nearly a full year of rehab, Jackson returned to action with the Sixers as a part of their Las Vegas Summer League roster, but the situation had changed. Philadelphia had come to terms on a partially guaranteed contract with Arizona's TJ McConnell, and also added Scottie Wilbekin to their Las Vegas roster at the last minute.
And whether it was his achilles that still ailed him, or the groin injury he picked up during mini-camp, Jackson's game looked different too. He wasn't weaving into the lane with the same swiftness people had become used to seeing from him, and struggled to create separation from defenders to get off his quick twitch shot.
Despite just shooting 31.8% from the floor, the Sixers still saw it fit to sign Jackson to a four-year, partially guaranteed contract, with the hopes that his best basketball could still be in front of him. Then they signed Scottie Wilbekin -- who performed phenomenally in Las Vegas -- to a similar contract. Just over a month later, they brought Kendall Marshall, a pass first point guard with NBA experience, into the fold as well.
Fifteen months ago, Jackson was in the drivers seat to be the Sixers third point guard. Fast forward to now, and he's caught in the thick of a numbers game for a position he likely would have had had he not torn his achilles.
In the grand scheme of things, Jackson should be an NBA player, but injury and stiff competition have seemingly placed him on the outskirts of a job with the Sixers.
It's just another addition to the series of unfortunate events Pierre Jackson has had to overcome, but making the Sixers roster this year might be his most daunting obstacle to date.