Josh Jackson
Small Forward (Rank: #3) | 6-8, 202
Kansas
Draft Board: Round 1 | Round 2
Insiders can access ESPN.com's complete draft coverage and exclusive player analysis.
Already an Insider? Sign in above or click here.

Become an insider | Take the Tour

Draft Projection: Top 5 Pick

Positives: Insider Only

Negatives: Insider Only

Summary: May 23 update: Jackson wasn't at the draft combine, but it won't affect him much. He seems to be a popular pick among scouts as the third-best prospect in the draft.

The challenge for him will be the Sixers at No. 3. Would they really select another non-shooter given their current personnel?

Perhaps. Coach Brett Brown loves tough-nosed defenders, and Jackson is the best wing defender in this draft.

May 8 update: Jackson is the best two-way player in the draft this year.

He'll spend most of the rest of the draft process getting grilled about an off-the-court incident that has called his character into question. Teams that have done a lot of digging feel he'll remain a top pick, but his answers to those questions are key.

Jackson isn't expected to participate at the combine.

April 18 update: Jackson has officially declared for the 2017 draft.

He is the best two-way player in the draft, with a combination of elite size, length and athleticism for a wing. He's also has an ultra-competitive motor that makes him a handful on both ends of the court. Scouts worry about his jump shot, free-throw shooting and an ugly off-the court incident this year -- but most believe he has that elite combination of tools and physical skills to be a great NBA player someday. While he has an outside shot at the No. 1 pick, most likely he'll go in the Nos. 3-6 range.

April 12 update: Every team in the lottery I spoke with had Fultz or Ball No. 1, but several did mention that Jackson is still in the mix.

He's the best two-way player in the draft, competes harder than anyone else and has a versatility that many teams covet.

The big question: Can he keep hitting jumpers at the same clip he did this season? Some scouts remain skeptical.

April 4 update: The Lakers currently have a 51.3 percent chance of landing a top-three pick in the draft, according to BPI. If they don't land in the top three, the Sixers will get the pick.

Jackson certainly made his case for the No. 1 pick, especially over the last month of the season, so if the Lakers land here at third Jackson really isn't just a consolation prize. Jackson is the best two-way player in the draft and would bring an intensity, toughness and winning mentality that the Lakers desperately need.

March 27 update: Jackson played his worst game of the tournament at the worst possible time for Kansas versus Oregon. He picked up two quick fouls and didn't score in the first half -- and a furious effort by Jackson in the second half wasn't enough to put Kansas over the top.

But even in a bad game for Jackson, there were plenty of positives. He grabbed 12 boards, handed out five assists and played terrific defense in the second half. The production wasn't quite there, but the effort was and that's a huge selling point for Jackson. He's a gamer.

All in all, it looks like Jackson ends the tournament right where he began, looking like a pick in the 3-to-5 range, with a small chance of still going No. 1. If he figures out how to rein in all that aggressiveness and consistently knock down jumpers, he could be a superstar in the league.

March 23 update: Jackson played like a potential No. 1 pick in the first two rounds. He'll face a stiffer challenge against Purdue's Vince Edwards, another long, athletic defender, and Caleb Swanigan, who can use his strength and skills to overpower Jackson. When Jackson brings his aggression and is hitting jumpers, he's the best two-way player in the draft. Purdue will be a really great test for him and the Jayhawks, and a looming matchup against Dillon Brooks of Oregon or Zak Irvin of Michigan has scouts excited.

March 20 update: One day before Kansas' first game, court officials released an affidavit that said Jackson threatened to "beat" a women's basketball player in December (he is scheduled to appear in court on April 12).

On the floor, Jackson made a strong case that he should be in the conversation with Fultz and Ball for the No. 1 pick after a dominant performance against Michigan State. He led all scorers with 23 points, knocked down a couple of 3s and had two steals and two blocks. His ability to create his own shot combined with the ability to guard multiple positions make him the best two-way player in the draft. Fultz and Ball have the leg up on Jackson right now, but Jackson has the talent to be a star and he's peaking at exactly the right time.

March 14 update: Jackson has been coming on strong over the last month of the season. He has always had an elite motor and the ability to impact the game on both ends of the court, but it has been his improved shooting stroke that has caught scouts' eyes.

If Jackson can be even a solid shooter, he has the chance to be a superstar. Some recent legal trouble has hurt his image a bit with scouts (especially after his absence in the first game of the Big 12 tournament helped lead to an early KU exit). A big NCAA tournament leading KU to a NCAA title would help change that story.

March 6 update: While Fultz and Ball are the clear favorites for the No. 1 pick, there are a handful of NBA GMs and scouts who feel that Jackson also makes a very strong case for the top pick.

He has improved significantly as the season has progressed, especially as a shooter. In his past 12 games he has shot 51 percent from 3 (18-for-35). He also has recorded seven double-doubles in that 12-game stretch.

He continues to be turnover prone and his free-throw shooting is a red flag worth noting, but Jackson's competitive fire and ability to play multiple positions are big pluses.

If he can keep hitting shots, he has superstar upside.

Feb. 1 update: Jackson had the No. 1 spot at the start of the season and lately has been making a strong case that he should still be in the mix. He had arguably the best game of his career on the road against Kentucky. The place was rocking, but not only was Jackson not fazed by the raucous atmosphere, he seemed to thrive in it.

Jackson has one of the most complete games in the country. He's a potentially elite defender, a major weapon in the open court and a terrific playmaker and passer for a 6-foot-8 wing. That major hitch in his jump shot is what scares teams, but he's shooting 8-for-14 from 3 in his past three games.

Jan. 24 update: Jackson is a little harder to appreciate on the surface than Ball or Fultz, but dig a little deeper and there's so much to love about his game. Jackson is long and athletic. He can play three positions and has the best motor in the draft as well as an incredible feel for the game.

Usually the combination of athleticism, basketball IQ and motor is a major recipe for success in the NBA. His inconsistent jump shot is his weakness and is a concern, given league trends. But Jackson reminds me a bit of Kawhi Leonard at this stage. I think he'll keep working on his shot until it isn't a concern, and the rest of his game is really, really special.

Dec. 22 update: Jackson began the season at No. 1 and has been impressive for the Jayhawks. He has proved to be an elite playmaker for a wing and has shown the skills to help his team in ways that don't always show up in the box score.

His 25 percent 3-point shooting and 55 percent free throw shooting are the big reasons his stock has slipped slightly.

Nov. 17 update: Jackson didn't play anything like a potential No. 1 pick in his opener against Indiana. His jumper wasn't falling, and he struggled to get into any sort of flow offensively, ending with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.

He bounced back against Duke, scoring 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including a nine-point run that put Kansas in the lead in the second half. He was more aggressive taking the ball to the basket and, had he not been in foul trouble much of the night, looked like he could've had an even bigger game.

He's still figuring out his role in the offense and how to dial it back just a bit on the defensive end. It's a work in progress, but nothing scouts have seen are causing them to back off his spot as a top-five pick -- yet.

Nov 5 Update: Jackson has held down the top spot since our first Top 100 was released right after the 2016 NBA Draft, and NBA scouts who have seen him in practices at Kansas have been wowed.

Jackson plays as hard as any player in the country on both ends of the floor. He's aggressive, athletic and tough, yet he has a sophisticated basketball IQ combined with unselfish play. If he had a consistent jump shot, he'd be a slam dunk for the No. 1 pick. There are few wings in the NBA who have his combination of physical and basketball skills.

"There's no way he's not going to succeed," one NBA GM said. "Even if he never becomes an elite shooter, he affects the game in every other way. He's a more offensively gifted Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Our whole staff is just in love with him.

"If he can hit 3s, he's not just going to be an All-Star, he'll be a superstar in the NBA. Like a top-10 player in the league."

Aug 23 Update: We're assuming for now that the Lakers will keep the pick, and want Josh Jackson.

Jackson is actually ranked No. 1 on our Big Board right now. He is super explosive, has an unbelievable motor and competes on both ends of the floor. He's a jump shot away from being a superstar.

Aug 4 Update: There is no consensus No. 1 pick among NBA scouts right now, but it does appear that Jackson is the slight favorite. His combination of elite athleticism, competitiveness and feel for the game make him a matchup nightmare on both sides of the court.

One scout referred to him as a higher energy Andrew Wiggins, while another went with a more offensively polished Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. His inconsistent jump shot is his biggest weakness at this stage.

Apr 10 Update: There's no real consensus among NBA scouts about who should be the 2017 No. 1 pick, but Jackson was the player mentioned most often among the scouts with whom I spoke.

It doesn't take long to see why. He's a long, explosive wing who plays with an elite motor and competitiveness on both ends of the floor. He's aggressive without ever being selfish. He can be a relentless driver to the basket, excellent passer (he might even be able to play a little point guard) and defender of at least three positions on the floor.

His jump shot is his biggest weakness right now. If it isn't broken, it needs a lot of work.

He can also be overly competitive at times (think Marcus Smart), which can get him and his team into trouble. But no one wants to win more than him. He's like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with a more refined offensive game.

He has narrowed down his school choices to Kansas, Arizona and Michigan State, with most folks here thinking he'll likely pick Kansas.

If he does, he should be a perfect fit in Lawrence, and I think he'll have the best chance of hearing his name called first in June 2017. I don't think there's a player in this class with more upside.

 

SPONSORED HEADLINES


Search Arrow