NBA Draft Profile: Josh Jackson
Key Stats: 16.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.0 APG
Measurables: 6’8, 207 Pounds
Coming out of high school, Josh Jackson had developed a reputation as the next great basketball star. Michigan State poured all of their resources into attracting the high school Phenom only to see him fall to #2 overall by being usurped by Harry Giles which now if you look at it that’s one of the greatest jokes of this decade.
Josh Jackson’s physical tools are far more developed than his technical skills. With that being said, he is one of the most athletic players in the league. In the half-court Jackson shows great basketball IQ by making timely cuts to the basket and, although not an elite playmaker, he has shown the potential to make competent passes in the flow of half-court sets.
Jackson has shown the potential to become an elite defender and possesses all of the requisite skills: quick feet, long arms and good hands. In watching him play thus far, I feel confident that he can hold his own against the quickness of the NBA. His jump shot shows promise, but there is potential for improvement, so look for his defense and athleticism to be what he relies on early in his career.
As mentioned above his athleticism is way ahead of his ball skills. In college, the majority of his points came from back-door cuts, transition opportunities, and put-backs. Teams had the most success defending him when they cut off quick opportunities to score and forced him take more than 3 dribbles.
Jackson’s ball handling is a major concern for me as he does not possess any breakdown ability off the bounce. The good thing is that those skills can be honed in on, once he makes the jump to the NBA.
His jump shot is by no means broken, but look for teams to force him to shoot from the perimeter early in his career. The majority of his three-point attempts came off of spot-ups, and he shot it a respectable 37% in those situations. In college he only took 3 shots from behind the arc per game, which in some ways is a good sign that he understands his strengths and weaknesses.
Turnovers are also an area of concern, as he averaged 2.8 turnovers per game. This is particularly troubling considering that he wasn’t the team’s primary ball handler. Overall, however, the good news is that his weaknesses can be fixed through repetition day-in and day-out.
Best Team Fit:
For Josh Jackson the best situation for him to find himself would be with a team that has two dominant ball handlers already so that he can play to his strengths as an athletic wing that can score in transition and benefit from good ball movement in the half-court. The less he has to handle the ball the more success he will have. For this reason, the Phoenix Suns are the best fit for him. The Suns have a bevy of guards including Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and Tyler Ulis – all Jackson would have to do is wait for the ball to come to him for an easy finish.
NBA Player Comparison:
If all goes well we could be looking at a more athletic version of Kawhi Leonard: quick feet, elite hands and a top tier defender. Questions of his maturity could arise due to a few minor incidents from his time at Kansas, so organizational culture will perhaps be a big factor in his success. In the worst case, Jackson can become a similar player to Gerald Green, an athletic wing who never reached his potential. All in all I believe he will go top 3 and have a long career as a defensive wing who can give a good team a number 3 scoring option.