ROUNDBALL DAILY

NBA Draft Profile: Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson

Guard/Forward

6-8, 207 lbs.

Kansas

Freshman

STRENGTHS: Remember all that hype that followed Andrew Wiggins into Lawrence? Well, this kid was a better player at KU. The comparison makes sense–both guys are 6-8 wings, but Jackson, who came in with about 1/1,000th the type as Wiggins, was the more polished collegian. The Detroit native averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3 assists per game last season, and proved to be the bellweather player on a team with the consensus National Player of the Year (Frank Mason).

There’s not much Jackson can’t do on the court–he’s got tremendous athleticism, a quick first step, the requesite shiftiness, and the ability to finish in the paint or around the rim. He’s also got a reliable jump shot and easy three-point range, though his form is clunky and could use some improvement (he shot 37.8% from three).

Though he played the 3 at KU, Jackson was a prolific rebounder, and he showed nice court vision within the constructs of Bill Self’s high-low offense. On defense, Jackson’s length and athleticism allowed him to guard everything from the 2 to the 5. He was terrific in the passing lanes, coming up with 1.7 steals per game and even blocking 1.1 shots per.

WEAKNESSES: While his game might be mature, his brain…maybe not so much. Jackson got himself in trouble with the law twice in one year, first for allegedly vandalizing a female basketball player’s car and then for hitting someone’s car and bailing without leaving a note. Clearly, he needs to be smarter, but he’s only 19. Hopefully he leaves the foolishness in Lawrence.

As far as his weaknesses between the lines, his jump shot could use a little work. He showed the ability to knock it down, but doesn’t have the prettiest form. He also only shot 57% from the free throw line, and that needs improving, as well.

BOTTOM LINE: If he develops a knock-down jump shot, he’s going to be trouble at the next level. This kid has all of the talent, Slam Dunk Contest-level athleticism, and defensive awareness necessary to make him a great 2-guard or wing. He’ll be disruptive and versatile on defense from Day 1, and should only get better with time. No way he slips past No. 5, but there’s a solid chance he could be the first player taken, depending on which team wins the lottery.

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