Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson profile
Drafted #15 in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Kings
RCSI: 9 (2014)
Height: 6'8" (203 cm)
Weight: 201 lbs (91 kg)
Position: SF
High School: Homeschool Christian Youth Association (Texas)
Hometown: Houston, TX
College: North Carolina
Current Team: Tex Legends
Win - Loss: 24 - 26
Justin Jackson 2017 NBA Draft Scouting Video - Strengths


Justin Jackson NBA Draft Scouting Report and Video Analysis

Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
Josh Riddell
Josh Riddell
May 23, 2017, 04:02 pm
Scouting Report by Josh Riddell. Video Analysis by Mike Schmitz
Justin Jackson ended his UNC career on a high note, being named the ACC Player of the Year while averaging 22.9 points per 40 minutes on a 56% true shooting percentage. He then helped the Tar Heels redeem their crushing 2016 loss in the championship game to take home the 2017 title, by defeating Gonzaga. He had an outstanding NCAA Tournament, averaging 19.5 points per game, and was his team's second leading scorer in both crucial Final Four games, coming up big on the defensive end as well.
Jackson tested the waters after his sophomore season but after a disappointing pre-draft process, returned to UNC with a long list of improvement areas from NBA scouts. Jackson worked extremely hard to improve on his weaknesses and took advantage of an extra year in college by making substantial improvements, which has gone a long way in repairing his stock in the eyes of scouts.
While Jackson has shown clear skill development, there are still some things he has to address to compete nightly against NBA wings. At 6'8 with a 6'11 wingspan, he has very good size and length for a wing, but is just an average athlete by NBA standards. He's a fluid athlete, but lacks a degree of explosiveness. His frame is on the thin side at 201 pounds, which is a cause for concern as a 22 year old junior, since he'll likely always be somewhat lanky. He'll have to continue to get stronger to handle the physicality of a NBA schedule as a small forward, much less be able to spend any time as a small-ball 4-man, which many teams like to see their small forwards do these days.
Jackson relies on his feel for the game and high skill-level to make the right reads on and off ball to help him score. There will be an adjustment he'll need to make playing against more complex defensive schemes than he saw in college, but in a smaller offensive role, Jackson will likely find ways to use his basketball IQ to find openings to get good looks at the rim.

Jackson was able to take a major leap in every aspect of his shooting ability which has turned him into a far more complete player. The adjustments he's made to his shooting mechanics have helped the ball come out cleaner and faster, giving his efficiency numbers a significant boost. He is clearly a more confident shooter as his three point percentage jumped from 29% to 37%, despite more than doubling his attempts, but he is still not an elite shooter yet, and will need to continue to polish this part of his game.
While Jackson is finally beginning to realize his potential as a shooter, he is also becoming more of a threat on the move as someone who can bend the defense with his off ball cuts and shiftiness off screens. He is comfortable shooting after gathering himself when moving to his right or left and is able to quickly become balanced to get into his shooting motion. With his ability to read the defense, he can become a weapon reading screens in set plays or finding open spaces in a more free flowing offense.
Where Jackson struggles is creating offense off the dribble, either out of pick and roll or isolation opportunities. Lacking an elite first step to get into space and struggling to handle the ball in traffic, he is rarely able to shake his defender off the dribble. His drives are cut off before he can get into the lane and he is often stuck dribbling from sideline to sideline rather than toward the rim.
When he does find an opening, he prefers to score off floaters (41% on 75 attempts according to Synergy Sports Technology) or pull-up jumpers (31.5% on 73 attempts per SST) rather than attempting to take contact at the rim. He can be a crafty finisher at the rim (57.5% conversion rate per SST) but may have trouble finishing around the basket against longer rim protectors because of his lack of explosiveness and strength. He shot just 4.2 free throw attempts per 40 minutes, one of the lower marks among small forwards in our top 100 and rarely looked to initiate contact. He will have to prove that he can score inside the paint when he is run off the line, by both becoming a more reliable mid-range shooter, and being more physical with his finishes.

Jackson compensates for his just-decent shot-creation ability by being a willing and capable ball-mover. His 0.54 pure point rating ranked second best among small forwards in our top 100, which demonstrates his ability to survey the floor and deliver accurate passes to his teammates. He keeps his head up while dribbling and makes the smart pass to limit careless turnovers which helps the offense flow around him.
To Jackson's credit, he has made significant strides defensively, especially as UNC got deeper and deeper into their postseason run last season. He stepped up his intensity level while doing a much better job moving his feet and contesting shots on the perimeter with his length. However, he had difficulty when tasked with guarding NBA level wing players at times, as his lateral quickness and build didn't always hold up. Early on in his career he may struggle with the physicality of NBA small forwards, and will certainly be outmatched against stretch power forwards until he bulk and learns how to play with maximum toughness and intensity on every possession.
He was also a poor rebounder, averaging just 4.0 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes. His numbers were diminished partly due to the prowess of the UNC big men but he also was not confident enough to throw his weight around in traffic to fight for loose balls which will continue to be a hole in his game until he gets stronger.
Jackson is a great communicator on defense and with the intelligence he has shown offensively, he should be able to easily pick up the complex schemes of NBA defenses. While he may not be a lockdown one on one defender, he could be able to function well in a team concept to help him make an impact on that end.
Jackson is peaking at the right time with his role at the next level looking very clear cut coming off a very strong season. His role in UNC's success helps his cause, and his size, length, improved shooting, basketball IQ and willingness to do the little things makes him someone who will be easy to fit into an NBA roster.

Justin Jackson NBA Pre-Draft Workout and Interview

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
May 16, 2017, 02:25 pm
North Carolina wing Justin Jackson works out in Chicago with Gilbert Abraham. Video produced by Matt McGann.

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NCAA Tournament NBA Draft Prospect Guide: National Championship Game

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Apr 02, 2017, 03:46 pm
Besides Collins, the player who has helped himself more than anyone at the Final Four thus far is UNC's Justin Jackson. Oregon had absolutely no answer for him on the wing with his tremendous size, length, much improved shooting stroke and outstanding basketball IQ. Besides scoring 22 points on 6/13 shooting from outside, Jackson was just as impressive defensively, covering ground exceptionally, using his big 6'11 wingspan to contest shots all over the floor, and playing with the type of toughness, focus and energy scouts have been wanting to see from him since he emerged as a McDonald's All-American three years ago.

Justin Jackson's Shooting Transformation

Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
Mar 02, 2017, 11:15 am
Mike Schmitz

Soon-to-be 22-year-old UNC forward Justin Jackson has helped himself and his team by transforming into a much more dynamic shot-maker after two somewhat underwhelming years, relative to expectations (RSCI #9).

The often-reserved 6' 8” junior, who had been homeschooled since fourth grade before moving to Chapel Hill in 2014, has emerged as the Tar Heels' most lethal scorer, while leading the storied program to an ACC regular season title in the process.

Jackson's much-improved shooting stroke (29.7% from three during his first two seasons) is without a doubt the driving force behind his breakout season – where he's averaging 22.7 points per 40 minutes on 51.3% from two and a career-high 39.0% from three. Jackson ranks third among DraftExpress Top 100 prospects in made threes per 40 minutes (behind only Malik Monk and Andrew White) and is doing so filling it up from the perimeter in a variety of ways.

Jackson has already made 19 more threes this year than he did in his first two years combined, and his efficiency numbers, especially off the catch, have skyrocketed. His shot preparation, balance, speed of his release and wrist action have all improved considerably in spot up situations, and his confidence is at an all-time high because of it.

Early in his career, Jackson could be seen toeing the 3-point line and trying to guide the ball to the rim, but thanks to his increased role and more polished stroke, the lanky wing is now regularly pulling up from beyond NBA range with far more confidence than he's ever shown in the past.

Here's a look at what Jackson has done to improve his catch and shoot jumper efficiency by 0.26 points per possession this season.

Jackson has also become a real weapon sprinting off of screens and playing out of dribble handoffs. He's always been dangerous working off of pin-downs because he has positional size, a reliable floater, and a scoring knack with his defender locking and trailing.

This season Jackson has taken his ‘off screen' scoring to a new level, however, as he's comfortable sprinting into catch and shoot threes turning right or left, and does a great job of relocating for quick handoff pull ups after giving up the ball. Jackson's ability to read his defender, shoot it with range, and curl or straight line drive to floaters make him a really tough cover operating off the ball in quick-hitting actions.

Here's a look at how Jackson has evolved as a shooter on the move:

While he's still not much of an isolation or pick and roll shot creator – limited by a high handle, thin frame and struggles shifting gears with any force – Jackson has made strides as a pick and roll shot maker, especially when the on ball defender goes under.

Defenses can no longer dare Jackson to shoot off the bounce from three, and his career-best 0.98 points per possession out of pick and roll is a result of his more dynamic ball screen game. Jackson, who also scores 1.06 points per possession out of isolations (though only 5.9 percent of his offense), has become more capable in one-on-one situations as well. He uses sharp jabs and ball shows to create space and now has the range to make him a threat playing off of hang dribbles, although that's still not a major part of his game. Jackson may never be a late-clock, ‘go get us a bucket' style of scorer, but his ability to at least keep the defense honest out of ball screens and off the dribble (career-best 0.86 points per possession on pull ups) has helped the offensive flow and turned him into a more complete scorer.

Although it has taken him a little longer than expected, Jackson has developed into an All-American type player this season, thanks in large part to his added consistency and versatility from the perimeter. He still reverts back to his old habits at times, and shouldn't quite be considered a knockdown shooter just yet, but he's taken a big step in the right direction and has improved his draft stock tremendously in turn.

Matchup Video: Justin Jackson vs Kentucky

Ryan Thomson
Ryan Thomson
Dec 26, 2016, 10:15 am
Ryan Thomson takes a closer look at North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson's performance against Kentucky.

The 6'8 junior had arguably his best game at the college level, finishing with a very strong 34 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 36 minutes, shooting 10-17 from the field and 10-15 from the free throw line.

Jackson is shooting 37% from beyond the arc on the season, correcting one of his biggest impediments preventing his NBA draft stock from taking off his first two seasons in college, where he shot just 29% for 3.

His numbers are up across the board on the year in fact, as he's posting a career high 21 points per-40 on the season, while his rebounding, 2P%, free throw attempts, free throw percentage and PER have all improved.

While North Carolina lost this game 103-100, the fact that Jackson was able to step up and have perhaps the best performance of his college career against this type of competition certainly bodes well for his prospects.

Ryan Thomson is a video analyst for DraftExpress. Follow him on twitter and check out his DraftExpress Video Archive. He will be breaking down the NBA draft in digital format all year long for us.

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC, Part Twelve: Prospects 12-15

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Josh Riddell
Josh Riddell
Oct 30, 2016, 03:14 pm
Josh Riddell

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.

Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part 3: Justin Jackson Scouting Video

Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
Oct 09, 2015, 10:40 am
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.
More DX Conference Preseason Previews:
-The Top 20 NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-12
-The Top 20 NBA Draft Prospects in the Big East
-The Top 15 NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12
-The Top 20 NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC
-The Top 10 NBA Draft Prospects in the AAC

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC
-Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part One
(#1) Brandon Ingram (Scouting Video)
Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part Two
(#2) Demetrius Jackson (Scouting Video)

(#3) Justin Jackson, Sophomore, Small Forward, North Carolina



Mike Schmitz is the video analyst for DraftExpress. Follow him on twitter and check out his archive. He will be breaking down the NBA draft in digital format all year long for us.

Nike Academy Scouting Reports: College Small Forward Prospects

Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
Jul 03, 2015, 06:45 am
Mike Schmitz

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

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mar 20, 2015, 02:21 pm
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

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Feb 05, 2015, 09:29 am
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.

2014 McDonald's Video Interviews: Justin Jackson and Devin Booker

Apr 26, 2014, 04:10 pm

High School Class of 2014 Scouting Reports, Part Three- the Wings

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Sep 05, 2013, 03:06 pm

Jonathan Givony

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.

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