Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part Twelve: Prospects 12-15
October 30, 2016
Justin Jackson decided to test the draft waters and was invited to the NBA Draft Combine, but ultimately made the decision to return to North Carolina for his junior season after a poor showing and lackluster NBA feedback. Jackson will be one of UNC's veteran leaders this season after the graduation of Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, and will likely be called upon to have a bigger role in the offense. He'll be looking to build on his draft portfolio after two solid, but not spectacular, seasons to start his collegiate career.
Jackson has nice size for the small forward position, as he was measured at 6'8” with a 6'11” wingspan at the Draft Combine. However, he is rail-thin at just 193 pounds, and will need to add more strength to his frame, especially in the lower body, to be able to be competitive at the next level. He will be turning 22 prior to the 2017 NBA Draft and there are definitely question marks about his ability to hold up physically over a long NBA season while competing against NBA wings. He's not an elite athlete, lacking a high level of open court speed or explosiveness, and will be relying more on his feel and basketball acumen to impact the game rather than his athletic ability.
A very good passer from the wing, Jackson was able to use his size and vision to average 3.9 assists per 40 minutes last game, third among returning small forwards in our top 100. He can make a variety of passes both from a standstill position and off the dribble, as he will make accurate post entry passes, swings the ball unselfishly on the perimeter, and always has his head up when leading the transition break. He limits his bad decisions, turning the ball over just 1.5 times per 40 minutes last season and his pure point rating of 2.67 ranked second among returning small forwards in our top 100. He doesn't always create separation from his man off the dribble to draw the help defense, but he can see over his defender and picks out the right pass in the flow of the offense to create good looks for his teammates.
Where Jackson needs to show some improvement in his junior season is as a spot-up shooter. Although his seemingly fundamental mechanics give him the potential to be a shooting threat, the results haven't ever really been there for him as he is just a 29.7% three point shooter in his collegiate career and knocked down only 29.9% of his 87 catch and shoot jumpers as logged by Synergy Sports Technology. He isn't great off the dribble at this point in his career as his handle can get a little loose and he isn't strong with the ball, which can lead to him getting stripped on penetration. He has shown the ability to hit a one dribble pull-up, but he will need to be able to convert his spot-ups to force defenses to guard him and open up potential driving or passing lanes.
Jackson has had some success scoring below the foul line, converting 58.3% of his shots at the rim according to Synergy Sports Technology. He's been able to score against half court defenses in several ways, whether that be with well-timed cuts to the rim, running off screens or chasing down offensive rebounds (2.5 per 40 minutes last season). While he can utilize his length to score over many defenders, he will need to show that he can score in the paint against NBA rim protectors as he has a propensity to shy away from contact, averaging only 3.4 free throw attempts per 40 minutes last season.
Defensively, Jackson is still a work in progress. His size and length will be an asset, but he really needs to fill his frame out to be able to play physical defense on the wing. While he has shown flashes of lateral quickness, he is usually straight up on the perimeter and easily knocked off balance on dribble penetration. He struggles to stay in front of his man and will give up on the play when his opponent is past him as he doesn't like to fight back into the play and contest shots in the paint.
He does have some length to close out on shooters on the wing, but he plays so far back off his man that he has too much ground to cover, and he also has a tendency to bite on ball fakes which can take him out of the play. He's already at somewhat of a disadvantage defensively with his relative lack of strength, and will need to improve his fundamentals to be able to have a positive impact on that end of the court.
After receiving plenty of feedback in the pre-draft process, Jackson will be looking to make some strides in his game to impress NBA scouts in his junior season. While he has displayed some offensive versatility, he hasn't yet demonstrated to scouts what he can hang his hat on in the NBA. There's a lot to like about his size and offensive instincts that still make him an attractive draft prospect, but he needs to make some refinements to his game this year to better define his potential role for NBA teams. [Read Full Article]
Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part 3: Justin Jackson Scouting Video
October 9, 2015
Mike Schmitz continues our coverage of the top NBA prospects in the ACC with a video scouting report of the #3 prospect in the conference, North Carolina's Justin Jackson.
Nike Academy Scouting Reports: College Small Forward Prospects
July 3, 2015
Over the course of the camp, the 6' 8.5” North Carolina wing proved to be the most offensively polished small forward out of a very talented group of wings. Jackson has excellent natural scoring instincts and is capable of getting buckets from all over the floor.
He showed his high basketball IQ with his passing ability (3.3 assists per 40 pace adjusted as a freshman), fluidity with the basketball driving in a straight line and attacking closeouts, and lethal mid-range pull up/floater game off the dribble.
Jackson played with the ball quite a bit and looked comfortable putting it on the deck going both right and left. Although he doesn't always get all the way to the rim, he uses his size to rise up over his defender and knock down contested pull up jumpers with relative ease. Jackson shows an excellent feel for the game as he rarely plays outside of himself and forces up bad shots or tries to make plays that aren't there.
While the Houston, TX native impressed with his smooth scoring ability, he didn't answer many of the questions surrounding his shooting range. Jackson is deadly as a jump shooter inside the arc but really lacks consistency when he stretches it out to the 3-point line. Jackson's mechanics get a bit stiff as he incorporates a somewhat violent dip of the ball and doesn't quite the rotation you would hope for from a player with such soft touch inside the arc. Becoming a more consistent threat from behind the arc will be an important part of Jackson's development.
On the defensive end, Jackson has some room to develop as well. Although he has solid length for his position (6' 10” wingspan), Jackson has a thin, hunched frame that limits his ability to guard stronger forwards. Jackson is also a bit hunched in his stance and struggles to consistently contain penetration versus quicker wings.
Jackson moves well enough to eventually develop into an adequate defender, especially given his 6' 10' wingspan, but it will be interesting to see how the 20-year-old's body develops as it will play a big role in his ability to defend stronger wings and finish through contact offensively. With all of that said, Jackson's size, scoring instincts and feel for the game make him an attractive option as a draft prospect, possibly as early as this upcoming year.
NCAA Tournament NBA Draft Prospect TV Schedule: Saturday
March 20, 2015
Freshman Justin Jackson has been playing some of his best basketball as of late, shooting the ball well from the perimeter (14/33 for 3 in his last 10 games) after a very slow start to the season (9/52 in the first 25 games). Jackson's cold shooting and overall average play early on had extinguished any talk of him as an early-entry candidate despite coming into the year with the pedigree of a top-10 high school recruit, but continuing to perform well in the month of March could change things, particularly since he is a little older than your average freshman, turning 20 next week.
2015 Basketball Without Borders Camp Roster Analysis
February 5, 2015
Jackson emerged on the radar after averaging 11.3 points per-game for Canada as a 15 year old at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships. A 2016 recruit out of Findlay Prep committed to UNLV, Jackson is a strong, aggressive scorer who excels in the open floor. Scouts will be interested to see how his skill level has matured in recent seasons, as he elected to skip the U17 World Championship last summer. His extremely well developed frame made him a bit of an early bloomer physically, and it will be interesting to see how his perimeter game has evolved since the last time we saw him, especially now that he is listed as being 6-8.
High School Class of 2014 Scouting Reports, Part Three- the Wings
September 5, 2013
Recruiting Rankings: 247: #12, ESPN: #8, Scout: #7, Rivals: #10 Committed to North Carolina
-Very good size for a small forward. Measured 6-8 in shoes
-Terrific scoring instincts. Can put the ball in the net from anywhere on the court. Extremely efficient
-Excellent perimeter shooter. Very good mechanics. Can make shots with feet set or off the dribble
-High release point on jumper allows him to get shot off with ease
-Can make tough turnaround jumpers inside the post
-Very soft touch on his floaters. Very effective in-between game with his crafty runners
-Highly intelligent, mature, team player
-Excellent passer. 2.5/1 assist to turnover ratio at the Nike EYBL
-Very frail frame. Weighed just 189 pounds in July. How much stronger can he get, especially in the lower body?
-Doesn't have amazing length (6-9 ½ wingspan) relative to his size
-Average athlete. Does not possess a great first step or overwhelming explosiveness
-Struggles to finish around the basket due to poor strength/explosiveness
-Lacks toughness? Avoids contact in the lane.
-Average motor on defense. Doesn't make much of an impact in the passing lanes or as a shot-blocker. Upright in his stance, and does not possess great lateral quickness
-Lacks some assertiveness at times
-A little bit old for his class. Turns 19 in March
Outlook: Extremely skilled small forward with a strong basketball IQ. Lacks the athleticism and aggressiveness you typically see from a player so highly. Did not perform that impressively in any of the settings I evaluated him, particularly compared with many of his peers at his position. [Read Full Article]