Isaiah Jackson to play two games with the Mad Ants on assignment
The 6-foot-9 center is not getting regular minutes with the Pacers so he'll play two G League games this week with the Mad Ants.
Isaiah Jackson has fallen out of the Indiana Pacers’ rotation and has been assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the G League for a pair of games this week.
It's his first assignment of the season.
He played five games with the Mad Ants last year during his rookie season and averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game.
The plan is for him to play Wednesday in Fort Wayne against the Windy City Bulls and again on Thursday at Grand Rapids. So he won’t be with the Pacers (21-17) for their game on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The 2021 first-round pick began the season as the backup center playing behind Myles Turner. However, lineups changed on Dec. 18 against New York.
Aaron Nesmith was inserted into the starting lineup to play the 4 over Jalen Smith for the past eight games. The Pacers have won six of eight games, including a 4-0 mark on their recent homestand.
“That’s the reason they’re in,” Carlisle said of both Nesmith and rookie Andrew Nembhard starting games. “That’s not the only reason, but that’s what got them on the floor.
“The team is growing and evolving and constantly adjusting. We figured some things out, and other things are ongoing.”
Smith’s minutes are down about eight minutes per game and it has left first-round bigs Jackson and Goga Bitadze without a role currently.
Second-year forward Terry Taylor isn’t playing either and so he played with the Mad Ants at the G League Showcase in Las Vegas two weeks ago and dominated.
Jackson, who turns 21 years old in one week, played just three minutes over the team’s four-game homestand and not at all in the past three games.
Both Taylor and Jackson are still fresh to the NBA and by not getting regular minutes, they fall out of game shape. And you can only get that back by playing in games and against competition.
“I was excited about the opportunity to just go out and play,” Taylor said at the showcase. “It’s more of me just staying in shape and finding my rhythm within the game.”
Meanwhile, the Pacers not having time to practice regularly doesn’t help. After practice last Thursday, Jackson, Bitadze and Chris Duarte took part in a full-court scrimmage with the interns.
For Jackson, two games with the Mad Ants should be a confidence boost and provide valuable game reps that he needs so early into his professional career.