Lakers Nation Draft Prospect Watch: Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson

Name: Justin Jackson
Position: Small Forward
School: North Carolina
Height: 6’7 1/2
Weight: 201 lbs.
Wingspan: 6’11
Current Position Rank: No. 27 (Chad Ford), No. 43 (DraftExpress.com)
Projected Draft Position: Late First Round
Current Stats (8 games): 10.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 46.4% FG%, 22.2% 3PT%
Player Comparison: Chris Douglas-Roberts
Featured Game: Saturday, December 13 vs. #1 Kentucky (9 AM PT, CBS)

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Strengths

In basketball, the goal is to put the ball in the basket and Justin Jackson is capable of doing that in a number of ways. He is an excellent shooter with great range, despite his three-point percentage not showing that yet.

Jackson can get his shot off against nearly everybody and is proficient with both his set shot, and pulling up off the dribble. He has a great mid-range game as well and can take smaller players in the post with a very good turnaround jumper.

He is very smart about the shots he takes. He is rarely seen forcing up bad shots that aren’t in the flow of the offense. Jackson also has very solid size for a traditional small forward in the NBA with good height and length.

Weaknesses

Physically, Jackson will need to add strength as he has a very thin frame that hinders him in different ways. He isn’t excellent on the boards and sometimes struggles to finish at the rim because he can be pushed around.

He also is just an average athlete. Jackson doesn’t possess great lateral quickness or explosiveness which shows up most on the defensive end where he is far from an elite defender. Even worse, he doesn’t always play with a high motor on that end. Taking plays off on defense will not cut it at the next level.

Offensively, he hasn’t yet found his stroke from deep, but that should come with time as he has excellent shooting mechanics. While he has a high basketball IQ, he can sometimes be too passive and lacks assertiveness.

Fit With The Lakers

There is no guarantee that the Lakers will get one of the top prospects in the draft because there is no guarantee that the team will keep its first round pick. But they will absolutely have one pick from the Houston Rockets that will likely fall late in the first round, and someone like Jackson would be a great player to take a flyer on.

The Lakers have a hole at the small forward as Wesley Johnson still has yet to fulfill his potential, and will be a free agent after the season. Jackson would bring a floor spacer that the Lakers desperately need.

He may not be able to step in from day one, but he has some skills that can be honed and worked with. The Lakers need shooting and a guy who can put the ball in the basket as Kobe Bryant and Nick Young are the only guys capable of doing that regularly.

Jackson’s issues on defense and his motor issues won’t be an issue with Kobe pushing him on a daily basis. He could be a very good rotation player down the line, which is what you hope for when picking late in the first round.

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