As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2017 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed four picks: 1, 37, 53, and 56. The draft will be held just over two weeks away on June 22 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Position: Small forward
Hometown: Southfield, Michigan
Weight: 207 pounds
Key 2016-17 stats: 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.1 blocks
Scouting report: The 6-foot-8 swingman from Kansas, who was the Big 12 freshman of the year and a first-team all-conference member last year, would be a fan favorite in Boston for his Marcus Smart-like grit and competitiveness. With a flurry of competent guards on their roster, there is speculation that the Celtics could select a versatile forward like Jackson with their first-round selection. Projected to go No. 3 by a number of outlets, he would be a viable option for the Celtics should they elect to trade down in the draft. Though it is not inconceivable that he goes No. 1, it is more likely that he would come to the Celtics via a trade with a team like the 76ers, which Bill Simmons recently suggested on his podcast.
A two-way player with the ability to guard anywhere from 1-4 in college, Jackson’s physicality is one of his strongest attributes. While his 6-foot-10 wingspan may limit his positional versatility in the NBA, his quickness, high rebounding rate for his position and ability to get his hands in the passing lanes prove that he would be an effective defender at the next level.
While he found success at Kansas offensively, his NBA potential rests in his ability to correct his shooting mechanics. His shot isn’t consistent from attempt-to-attempt, and his streakiness is evident by his 57 percent shooting from the free-throw line last season. That being said, he does have an explosiveness that allows him to get out in transition, shoot the occasional spot-up jumper or push himself towards the rim.
There are some character issues the Celtics would need to consider before drafting Jackson, though, as he was involved in an off-the-court incident at Kansas in December and got called for a number of technical fouls last season. While he has some maturing and developing to do, Jackson showed flashes on one of the best teams in college hoops, and his athleticism and high basketball IQ indicate that he has the potential to become a star. An unselfish passer who is not afraid to get dirty and crash the boards, the former Jayhawk’s defensive capabilities have been compared to Shawn Marion and Andre Iguodala.
“I freaking love him,” a Lottery-team executive said. “This guy’s getting better as he goes, so I can’t see how he can’t be Iguodala – a guy who can defend and pass, and who’s becoming a better shooter. I know the Kansas people, and in terms of work and all that stuff … they were absolutely in love with him as a kid – not a little bit, a lot.”
While his shooting needs improvement, the team that selects Jackson can be certain he will give 100 percent and play ferocious defense, something all NBA teams could use more of.
Full article @ NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Kansas small forward Josh Jackson
Source: GreenStreet Blog