With 10 days to go before the NBA Draft, we’re breaking down prospects that could be there when the Pellies pick at 51. With that pick, they’ll be looking at players that have not quite been able to put it together, that could contribute in the rotation. Personally, much like most of the league, I think they should be looking at the wing position.
SF/PF, Sophomore, Maryland, 6’6″, 230 21 years old
9.8 PPG, 41.6% EFG, 25% 3P, 82.8% FT, 8.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.8 SPG
Another sophomore, the caveat with Jackson is that his college career was cut short, due to playing through and eventually having to have surgery on a torn labrum. As a freshman, and perhaps more importantly, not having an injured shoulder, he was an inside out defender with the ability to defend on the perimeter. On top of that, he showed the ability to hit the three at a greater percentage his healthy freshman year. Potentially having the ability to switch on defense and competently hit the 3 makes him a perfect fit for the modern NBA.
After participating in last years combine, he came into the season with the expectation that he could end up being a lottery pick. That his season was cut short due to injury could help the Pels land a prospect that is a bit better than his draft position a la Frank Jackson. While physically impressive, the knock on him during last years combine was that he can “very rigid”. The good news is that he hired Drew Hanlen of Pure Sweat, perhaps most famous for getting Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum more NBA-Ready skill-wise.
Another intriguing aspect of his potential is his role in international play. Instead of watching a Maryland game, I watched the U19 Canada v Australia game Jackson participated in. The most interesting thing about his role on Canada, is that besides being the defender and potential shooter, they also have him facilitate the offense a lot more than I thought they would. While it was not always pretty, that potential as a creator/playmaker is intriguing.
How Does He Fit?
If there’s one thing that the Pelicans could use more of, it’s solid, rotational wing depth. While he’s not the safest pick, I do think Justin Jackson is a player with high upside if he is more the player he was as a freshman while healthy. As I said before, the ability to switch and hit the three are probably the two most coveted skill on the wing and with his height, 7-3 wingspan, and athleticism he certainly has the switchability part more down. The shooting is the big question mark, with his second year shooting slump sort of explained away with playing through the torn labrum.
Also, if what he showed in International play as a potential ballhandler/creator can be improved, combined with leading Maryland in rebounding, Justing Jackson would be a really nice fit in Gentry’s grab and go/push the pace style of offense.
If Jackson is healthy, he ticks alot of the bigger boxes that teams are looking for and could be an intriguing prospect come draft night.
Thoughts on Justin Jackson? Or just the Pellies’ pick in general? Let us know below or on Twitter.