Justin Jackson on Kings loss to Clippers during summer league in Las Vegas
Kings forward Justin Jackson is leaving assessments of his game and comfort level this summer up to the media.
"I'll let y'all judge that, y'all judge everything else," Jackson said. "I'll let y'all judge that, but I feel pretty good out there."
Jackson gave those watching something good to judge him by Sunday, scoring a game-high 28 points in a 88-78 summer league loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Cox Pavilion. It's the third time in four games he's scored at least 20.
Jackson has reason to be a bit defensive about his play. It's under scrutiny after a rookie season that wasn't spectacular. It also doesn't help that the Kings have been open about looking to add a veteran small forward.
Jackson said he wouldn't let that bother him and his play has been indicative of someone not bothered by the prospect of competing for minutes during the regular season.
The 6-foot-8 forward knows he has to attack on offense and remain a factor. He did that against the Clippers.
"I like his aggression," said Kings summer league coach Larry Lewis. "I think he's going hard. I think he's really putting his mind to do something to change the game in our favor. I like that."
The Kings did a better job of playing at a faster pace Sunday, which suits Jackson's skills and allows him to get out and run in the open floor.
The Kings want to play that way in the regular season, but often dribbled too much and started their offense too late into the shot clock.
A speedier game gives Jackson the best chance to flourish.
"I think that helps everybody," Jackson said. "That helps Frank (Mason III), for him to get downhill, which opens up things for everything else. Whenever we get out and run, whether it's summer league or the regular season, that's when we're at our best. I think that's definitely a good spot for us to be in."
Improved tempo was something Lewis wanted to see, too.
"I thought we stepped it up a little bit with our pace," Lewis said. "The more we can do that, I think the better we'll be. It's a fast game, especially against a team like the Clippers. I thought we got after it a little bit better as far as that is concerned."
The Kings are off until Tuesday, when they'll face the Memphis Grizzlies.
Playing fast would give the Kings their best chance of winning. Sacramento has lost four consecutive summer league games after a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday in the California Classic opener at Golden 1 Center.
Jackson said defense is key to pushing the pace. It's something he's focused on for himself to make sure he's playing in the regular season, even if the Kings add a veteran small forward.
Playing uptempo is something the Kings need to make a habit in the regular season.
"The biggest thing is just getting stops," Jackson said. "If we don't get stops, we can't get out and run."