2016-17 Season Stats:
51.5% from the field
38.5% from three
55.9% from the free-throw line
Weight: 203 pounds. Height w/shoes: 6′7″. Wingspan: 6’9″. Max Vert: N/A
Seldom does a college player make the leap to the NBA and play fundamentally well on both sides of the ball. It’s even more rare when the player spends just one year in college. Kansas forward Josh Jackson breaks that mold. He can guard three positions at the next level. At Kansas, he’s been playing anything from a two-guard to a power-forward. At the NBA level, his lack of a jumper will hurt him with how the game now is — most general managers are willing to give up their left arm for a good stretch four. While Jackson is able to keep up with the Draymond Green’s and Paul Millsaps on the defensive end, he will struggle against them on offense without a consistent jumper.
Jackon’s three assists per game don’t do justice for how good of a passer he actually is. Kansas usually uses him in the mid-range pick and roll. Bigger players on the team thrive from his ability to throw a lob pass and get them easy buckets near the rim as a high IQ playmaker. He doesn’t have the ball in his hands as much as a point guard or even a point forward would, but he knows where everyone is on the court and puts his teammates in position to succeed. He has the court vision of a point guard and usually makes the safe play. His playmaking ability for his size has drawn him comparisons to Andre Iguodala. Iguodala has never had incredible assist numbers, but he’s well-known for his passing skills and smart play on the floor.
The athletic wing is a great rebounder and is always on the floor for the loose ball. Jackson looks for the offensive board in ways many players don’t. He uses his length and athleticism to box out guys that may outmuscle him in the paint. When he controls the ball, many college guards are too small to contain him. The bigs have a tough time matching up with his speed. He’s been a match-up nightmare for opposing coaches. Jackson can also take the ball to the basket and finish well around the rim, much better with his right hand however than with his left. He has a faulty jumper and it isn’t dependable at all. Anytime the defense can force him to pull up rather than take it all the way, they will take it on every play.
With the lack of a consistent jumper does come confidence issues on the offensive end at times. Jackson will often pass up an open jumper because he isn’t the best shooter by any means. He struggles from beyond the arc and is a poor free-throw shooter. His best shot is when he is in rhythm and creating for himself rather than having anyone find him for a shot. Jackson can also be a hothead. With the passion and emotion, there can be some cons. He’s prone to getting technical fouls and with his aggressiveness on defense, he usually finds himself on the bench because of foul trouble.
Jackson has had some legal issues. He’s allegedly been involved in a hit-and-run, faces a misdemeanor property damage charge and has been in multiple traffic violations on campus. Despite all his talent, some teams may pass on him early in the draft to avoid those headaches and risk.
It’s cliche, but it’s accurate when it comes to Josh Jackson: he truly hates to lose. He might come with some baggage, but he could be worth taking the chance on based on his potential. Some people compare him to Kawhi Leonard, while others say he can be like a Jimmy Butler. Either way, Jackson is a lock to be a top-five pick in the draft and can be drafted as early as the third pick behind Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. He has All-Star written all over him. Once the jumper is cleaned-up, he will be a special player in the NBA.