Kansas forward Josh Jackson projects to be one of the top players selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. This is dependent on Jackson declaring for the draft after the season. While nothing is certain, players who project to be a top five pick normally decide to enter the draft.
Many draft analysts have Jackson at the beginning of the next tier of players behind Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. Draft Express and NBADraft.net both have Jackson going as the third player off the board.
ESPN’s Chad Ford also has him going three and notes he is “making a strong case for the No. 1 pick”. What is it about Jackson’s game that has NBA teams keeping a close eye on the Kansas forward?
Jackson is one of the most complete players in the draft. Jackson is averaging 16.5 ppg, 7 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.7 spg and 1.1 bpg. He is shooting just over 50 percent from the floor and 37.8 percent from behind the 3-point line. He has no problem stuffing the stat sheet. His all-around game has some comparing him to players like Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.
He is one of the better scorers in the draft. Jackson has scored 20 or more points this season in eight games. How he gets his points is unique. Jackson’s athleticism allows him to have an above the rim game where he can score attacking the basket and on put-back shots.
He has the ability to hit the mid-range jumper, an increasingly rare skill set. His three-point shot has improved, and Jackson has no problem knocking down the open three.
At 6’8″ and 207 pounds, Jackson has good size for an NBA small forward but will need to bulk up to maximize his talents at the next level. Jackson is a good defender and has the length to develop into an elite defender in the NBA. He is also a very good rebounder and has the willingness to mix it up in the paint.
Jackson has a good chance to be the first forward selected in June’s draft. Like several of the top NBA prospects, he could benefit from a strong March Madness performance.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights from his career-high 31 point performance against Texas Tech: