At the start of the 2016-17 college basketball season, Josh Jackson was pegged by many to the number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
However, he fell to the fourth pick as the Phoenix Suns were not going to let a talent like Jackson’s fall any further.
So through three summer league games, how has Jackson fared against young NBA talent?
First and foremost, Jackson is an athletic freak who has an NBA-ready body right now at the young age of 20.
Throughout his short college career, there have been numerous comparisons made between him and NBA superstar Jimmy Butler.
In three Summer League games, he has showcased that his athleticism is actually very much like that of Butler.
In his first three appearances in a Suns uniform, Jackson managed to average nearly 18 points and eight rebounds a game. Those stats are due mostly to how superior his athleticism is to his competition right now.
However, Jackson’s game isn’t all about his raw athleticism. From 15 feet and in, he is a dangerous scorer. At the basket, he is extremely crafty and against top rim protectors in the league, he will find a way to score.
Also, he has showcased some savvy basketball IQ by employing the use of the bank shot from around 15 feet. While his shot is still developing, it’s very encouraging to see that he is finding ways to score besides your typical jump shot.
Rim: 1— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) July 9, 2017
Josh Jackson: 0
Yea, that dunk attempt was pretty bad. And while this may seem like just a bad play, Jackson has often been plagued by silly, rookie mistakes like this throughout the three games.
He has turned the ball over at a rate that is a bit worrisome, and his shot selection is very questionable. Numerous attempted 3-pointers have come at incredibly weird moments in a play.
While this is pretty common among rookies, this proves that Jackson isn’t going to be a top-flight NBA star as soon as he comes into the league.
He will a have a sizable learning curve due in part to the great speed of the NBA game. To put it simply, Jackson just needs to become more fundamentally sound before he earns the right to be on the level of one Jimmy Butler.
You remember how I said Jackson is elite from 15 feet and in? Well on the flip side of that, Jackson is just really, really bad right now beyond 15 feet.
Sure, he will hit the casual 20-footer, but that would be after he bricks away seven or eight shots that someone can’t even rebound.
This is what should terrify Suns fans everywhere. Because that horrific use of his off hand is killing his jump shot.
Overall, Jackson is just too talented around the basket and too strong of a re-bounder to just be another Stanley Johnson.
His stats may reflect that in his rookie season, however his PER rating will be surprisingly high for a rookie. With elite shooters such as Devin Booker and Brandon Knight on the team, Jackson’s shot selection will be more restrained.
It needs to be regulated because Jackson bombing away 3-pointers as a rookie would be a disastrous start to his development.
Whatever peaks and valleys of Jackson’s rookie year will bring, it is certain that he is an immediate upgrade to the team.
What fans and experts will key on moving forward is just how much of that incredibly high ceiling Jackson can reach.
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