The Orlando Magic seem to be headed towards another year of a top five lottery pick. Over the next few weeks, we will analyze prospects the team could potentially draft. Next up, Josh Jackson.
Name: Josh Jackson
Team: Kansas Jayhawks
Current Position: Small Forward
Expected NBA Position: Small Forward
Age: 18 years old
Stat Line: 16.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.2 bpg, 50.6 FG %, 36.3 3PT %, 56.2 FT%
Pro Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
Josh Jackson began the college preseason as the number three NBA prospect. Jackson is a safe gamble as a lottery candidate.
Jackson is one of the best overall athletes available at the forward position in this upcoming draft. As a freshman for the Kansas Jayhawks, Jackson displays incredible energy on both ends of the floor. Jackson is talented enough to make a block on one end and finish above the rim on the other. He is also a decent passer logging three assists per game. Jackson will enter the league known as a high flying slasher. His current abilities and projected ability to grow physically should keep him in the top five range of this upcoming draft.
In the early stages of his career, Jackson’s athleticism will be his calling card at the professional level. Currently scoring 16 points a game, Jackson finds most of his success scoring at the rim, although he can occasionally score the occasional three-point shot. Jackson can use his dribble to get to the rim or to create his own shot but he will need to continue to work on his shot selection at the next level to be successful.
Jackson has the right combination of skill and athleticism that will help him succeed at the next level. Jackson could truly emerge into his Leonard comparisons if he remains active on the defensive end. At 6’8, he has the wingspan 6’9, to become a very tough defender. His 1.7 steals per game and 1.2 blocks per game show that he is capable of anchoring down an elite team defense and really leading a team on that end of the floor. While not as strong as the NBA will demand him to be, he can defend the paint within a solid scheme bur really makes the difference guarding the perimeter. Jackson will be a difference maker in rebounding and pushing the pace in transition.
Jackson will undoubtedly come to the next level and make spectacular plays but he needs to become more disciplined on both ends of the floor to do so. At times, he gambles too often and tends to set his team up to scramble on defense as a result. This could land him in the dog house of whatever coach he ultimately ends up playing for.
Outside of playing reckless, Jackson has been known for his terrible shot selection. At times, his shot is very predictable. From a potential top five pick, you love the effort to try to take over a game but he will have to be smart about how he does it. As competition stiffens against him, he has the tendency to relax from penetrating to the rim and settling for an inconsistent, wild jump shots. At the NBA level, expect teams to push him off the block and more towards the perimeter to see if he can maintain any sort of consistency on the offensive end.
In terms of his shooting ability, Jackson has the same issues as fellow draft mate Fultz, his release is awkwardly off the side of his hand. As a NBA small forward he will have to get better as that position ia expected to convert on three-point looks. His poor release affects his field goal percentage his free throw percentage as he is currently converting on 56 percent from the line. That will be an issue as he gathers towards the rim teams will not be afraid to foul him instead of giving up the easy two.
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Jackson will hold firmly to a top four selection barring any major injuries as the highest rated small forward projected to enter the draft. Teams looking for a safe return with high upside on the wing will be looking to take Jackson to build with. Don’t be shocked if Jackson moves into the top two conversation closer to draft day as teams will fall in love with his athleticism.
*All videos used are the property of Mike Schultz for Draft Express.