Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Josh Jackson – SF – Freshman – Kansas
Weight: 203 lbs
Age: 20 years, 4 months
Projected: 4 (DraftExpress) 3 (CPP Big Board) 3 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: The Big 12 Player of the Year and First-Team All-Conference member, Josh Jackson, had a terrific season for the Kansas Jayhawks and solidified his status as a Top 5 pick in this year’s draft. From running in transition to locking down his opponents on the wing, Josh Jackson was one of the better two-way players in college basketball this past season. In 35 games this past season for the Jayhawks, Jackson averaged 16.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.7 SPG, and shot 54.9% from the floor. Although Josh Jackson does not overpower his opponents with his size, he does use his strength to his advantage. Although he only weighs 203 pounds, Jackson has a lot of lower body strength, making him dangerous when backing someone down. His nearly 6’10” wingspan makes him explosive in transition and a threat to swipe the ball away on the defensive end. After a fantastic freshman season at Kansas, Josh Jackson is ready to make the jump to the NBA and will be one of the first to hear his name called on draft night!
Strengths: Josh Jackson’s willingness to get up and down the court and his defense are two of his strongest traits. In college, Jackson showed no problem guarding 1-4 and is able to shut down his opponents. His approach and closeout after the pass has been made is very developed for a freshman and his feet are extremely agile. One particular thing that Jackson excelled in defensively is cutting into the lane and taking a charge. Lots of young players coming out of college often get out of the way, but Jackson feeds off of the contact and uses his large frame to draw lots of charges. Jackson’s mental timing is another trait that is ranked high among others. His decision making on whether to go for the steal or play behind someone on a rebound is well developed and his frame adds to this. His intensity, athleticism and awareness on defense makes him possibly the best defensive wing in this draft. Offensively, Jackson found success, despite his slightly awkward release. He averaged 21.2 PPG, 54.9% from the field, 37.8% from 3-pt range, and 56.6% from the free throw line per 40. When in the paint or driving to the paint, Jackson uses his lower body to dig into defenders, resulting in his opponents fouling him a lot. In transition, Jackson plays above the rim with ease and shows his athleticism and explosiveness. Although he is better in coast-to-coast situations, Jackson’s half-court game is slightly underdeveloped. He prefers to play in isolation in the half-court, but found success at Kansas in a quick-tempoed offense. Jackson’s solid offensive skills and his defense effort makes him very intriguing as a top pick in the draft.
Weaknesses: Jackson’s biggest weakness and or question mark is, of course, his shooting. Jackson struggled this past season coming off the dribble in the mid-range. According to Synergy, he made 20% of these shots. He also did not explode like Kansas wanted him to in pick-and-roll situations. He was sloppy with the ball coming off the screen and was susceptible to turning the ball over. Josh Jackson’s shooting mechanics are also worrisome. Sometimes he brings the ball up from his hip, other times he releases the ball from his elbow, pushing the ball out towards the basket instead of using his outside hand and wrist. This could be something Jackson has to fix this summer because the team he gets drafted by will not want to see a free-throw percentage of 56.6% like this past season. Teams in today’s NBA look for wings who can play solid minutes and be relied on deep in the shot clock to take the burden off others. Jackson has not shown that he can carry a heavy offensive load yet and with his shot still developing, he may not fit the mold lots of NBA teams are looking for offensively. As mentioned earlier, Jackson’s ball handling is also a problem to watch out for in the NBA. The golden rule of passing is to never leave your feet to make a pass and Jackson did this quite a bit at Kansas. He was sometimes a little bit too flashy with the basketball and tried to make passes that were not there. As a result, Jackson is yet to find his groove with the basketball when not looking to score. Although he is incredibly unselfish with the basketball, he may be told at the next level that passing it to his teammates may not always be the best decision. Sometimes it is beneficial to be a little selfish when the game is on the line. Josh Jackson is no doubt, a highly athletic and passionate player on the court, but how will he deal with the attention and “fame” that the NBA can bring? He was involved with off the court issues a few times at Kansas that resulted in discipline by authorities higher than the program. His off the court issues will be something teams will have to consider when evaluating him and if he can handle being a professional and idol to the younger generations of the sport.
Comparison: A mix between Andrew Wiggins and Andre Iguodala
Ceiling: A Tracy McGrady/Kawhi Leonard type player
Josh Jackson will look a lot like Andrew Wiggins when he came into the league. A lengthy, explosive, athletic, and streaky player that is dangerous on the run. Wiggins was a slightly better shooter than Jackson is coming out of Kansas, but Jackson is also a better defender, much like Andre Iguodala. Both players ability to get up and rebound/contest shots is very similar. Iguodala is one of the league’s best one-on-one defenders and has tremendous footwork on his closeout. Jackson will immediately come into the league and be a solid two-way player in a team’s second rotation. Over time, if Jackson comes into his own and gets better both offensively and defensively, the sky’s the limit and we could be looking at a new version of T-Mac and Kawhi combined.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: