Weight: 203 pounds
Position: Small Forward
PPG: 16.3 RPG: 7.4 APG: 3.0 SPG: 1.7 BPG: 1.1 FG%: 51.3 3PT%: 37.8 FT%: 56.6
Josh Jackson is probably the best two-way player in the NBA Draft and one who can affect the game in a number of different ways. Where he figures to make the biggest impact immediately is on the defensive end.
Jackson is a great athlete who showed the ability to defend just about any position on the floor. He takes pride in shutting guys down, uses his lateral quickness to stay in front of players and draw charges, isn’t afraid to mix it up in the post with bigger guys, and uses excellent instincts to get in the passing lanes and create turnovers. At the end of the day, Jackson is simply a competitor.
That is something else that scouts love about Jackson. His motor is non-stop every night at both ends of the floor. This also shows in his rebounding where he was effective on both ends due to his activity and athleticism. He doesn’t back down from anyone and wears his heart on his sleeve, sometimes a little too much, but most would prefer someone they need to calm down slightly than the opposite.
Jackson isn’t just heart and aggression however, as he is skilled on the offensive end as well. He is capable of playing both on and off the ball, using solid ball-handling, great court vision and excellent passing to set up teammates for open looks regularly. Additionally he is great at off-ball movement, cutting into open spaces for easy baskets for himself. He also improved throughout his lone college season as a spot-up shooter.
Overall Jackson is someone who plays hard every night, but is an unselfish player who will do whatever the team needs to win. Any team would love to have players like that.
There are some major concerns with Jackson and probably the biggest is his jump shot. While his percentages in college were decent, he really struggled with his shooting off-the-dribble and in the pick-and-roll. This is in part due to his shooting mechanics which change in different situations instead of remaining the same consistently.
Combine that with the fact that he shot only 56.6 percent from the free throw line and it brings legitimate worries about how much better of a shooter he can become. Jackson will also need to improve his ball-handling at the next level. He can be sloppy at times and with his aggressive style of play, it can lead to a lot of turnovers.
There are some maturity concerns with Jackson. He was involved in a couple of incidents during his time at Kansas, one of which caused him to be suspended for the Jayhawks’ Big 12 Tournament opener. He also received had some technical fouls and showed something of a temper towards officials. This could be viewed as a sign of his competitiveness and passion, but there is a thin line.
Defensively Jackson can have a tendency to gamble a bit too much which puts him out of position. He also struggled with fouls, many times due to being too aggressive and physical on that end when it wasn’t necessary.
Player Comparison: Andre Iguodala
The best case scenario for Jackson would be someone like Kawhi Leonard, who came into the league with a similar reputation, but ultimately improved his shooting and ball-handling to the point where he became a top-5 player in the NBA. A more likely and realistic level for Jackson to reach however, is that of Iguodala.
Though he was never a superstar, Iguodala did become an All-Star in this league due to his outstanding versatility. He could score at a more than adequate level, but was also a great rebounder and extremely underrated passer and playmaker all while being one of the league’s best lockdown defenders for years. Even in his later years with the Golden State Warriors Iguodala made such an impact that he won NBA Finals MVP in 2015.
Jackson has the ability to do the same thing. He projects to be an outstanding defender at the NBA level and his rebounding will also translate well. He is effective off the ball as a cutter but will also be able to create for himself and others as long as he continues to improve. Even if he never becomes a knockdown shooter, he should enjoy a long career due to the fact that he can do so many other things, just like Iguodala.
Fit With the Lakers
There are a couple of concerns about Jackson’s potential fit with the Lakers with the main one being that his primary position mirrors that of last year’s first-round pick, Brandon Ingram. His lack of shooting also brings concerns about fitting in Luke Walton’s offensive system.
Those concerns aside, Jackson would still be a welcome addition to the Lakers. First and foremost, the Lakers badly need a lockdown defender and Jackson fits the bill. His aggressiveness and attitude is something the Lakers need as guys like Ingram and D’Angelo Russell are more laid back players.
Another big positive is that unlike some other prospects, Jackson doesn’t need the ball to be effective. He could potentially make an impact while not taking away too many touches from Russell and Ingram and still serve as a secondary ball-handler who could ease the pressure off of them as well. Overall he brings plenty to the table that the Lakers are in need of.