"Josh Jackson Can't Shoot."

  • “Josh Jackson Can’t Shoot” is what I heard a lot of analysts say on draft night. It’s what I read in scouting videos. It’s what gets written and parroted in comment sections by people who probably didn’t watch him play last season. I agree to a point, Josh Jackson has a “hitch” in his shot and his free throw shooting is worrisome. On the other hand, his overall field goal percentage and three point percentage were pretty good for a hyper-athletic freshman forward. Let’s look at some of Josh Jackson’s season averages at Kansas:

    PPG --> 16.3,

    FG% --> 51.3,

    3PFG% --> 37.8,

    eFG% --> 55.2,

    FT% --> 56.6,

    PER --> 24.1,

    Compare those numbers to Jayson Tatum:

    PPG --> 16.8,

    FG% --> 45.2,

    3PFG% --> 34.2,

    eFG% --> 50.7,

    FT% --> 84.9,

    PER --> 22.0,

    The consensus opinion on Tatum is that he’s the best scorer in the draft class. Looking at stats, his FT shooting is really the only thing he was better at than Jackson last season, offensively. But if you watched Kansas basketball last season, you probably noticed that JJ has an outstanding motor and work ethic, and that his shooting seemed to improve from game to game. Here are some numbers that illustrate this:

    Shooting percentages (FG%, 3P%, FT%):

    November --> 51.3, 29.4, 54.0

    December --> 50.6, 22.2, 54.5

    January --> 47.2, 38.4, 55.3

    February --> 52.2, 47.8, 58.2

    March --> 56.7, 42.9, 66.7

    His FT shooting improved by the month. His numbers in March weren’t far off from either Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball’s FT numbers (both in the 60’s for the season). Do I think Josh Jackson is going to develop into Steve Nash at the line and Ray Allen from 3? No, not at all. But given his work ethic I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that JJ can improve his shooting as he starts his career in Phoenix.

    His passing and rebounding numbers were also better than Tatum’s. He’s a better defender than Tatum. His ball-handling, contrary to what other’s have said, is very good for someone of his age, size, and athleticism. I can understand Philly taking Fultz ahead of Jackson, even if I disagree with it – they desperately need a point guard. And I can understand Magic and the Lakers taking Ball ahead of Jackson – he’s from LA, played at UCLA, and probably reminds Magic of Magic a little bit. I can’t really understand Danny Ainge and Boston taking Tatum ahead of JJ, but here’s my guess – Jae Crowder is more similar to JJ than he is to Tatum, and he’s already on the Celtics’ roster, so maybe Boston thought it was a little bit redundant to draft Jackson. Also, Ainge wasn’t happy about JJ skipping the Boston workout. Still, I would have taken Jackson, and here’s why:

    “If you ask me, of course I’m going to say I’m the best player in this draft, but if you ask those other guys, they’re going to say the same thing about themselves, I’m sure,” Jackson said. “But just I love competition, and I love proving people wrong. I’ve been drafted to Phoenix, and I’m going to go there and I’m going to make the best of it. I’m going to be the best player I can be. And those teams who didn’t draft me, one day they will be sorry.”

    And I understand that it’s popular to say things like that, but with Jackson I really get the feeling that he means it.

  • @KirkIsMyHinrich thanks for the month over month numbers. One day they will be sorry. I have no doubt.

  • @KirkIsMyHinrich

    We are talking about a group of professionals that would not knowingly choose to pour urine from a 10 gallon yarmulka, papal pointy hat, Stetson Open Road, or Borsalino fedora.

    We are not dealing with the MIT crowd.

    They did not pick Paul Pierce first, or Chalmers in the first round.

    Many are products of nepotism.

    Others are cronies clipping coupons.

  • Jackson has “it.” Stats back “it” up.

  • @KirkIsMyHinrich

    Josh has appeared to pay dearly for coming to the wrong time zone to wear the wrong shoe brand with likely the wrong agency alignment.

    He was easily the best player in the draft, but fell to 4.

    He had to be the best, because required him to learn D, play out of position at 4, and learn what many argue is a much tougher system.

    We have to hope it pays off for him on the second contract, when he shows himself the best of the bunch.

  • @jaybate-1-0 How does JJ this year differ from Wiggins who went #1 and the Embiid #3 in 2014?

    You know I’m a skeptic on this stuff.

    It appears from NBA way outsider that the PG emphasis in the NBA moved JJ back, and then he engineered (sorry to borrow the term) his landing spot in Phoenix vs. Boston.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I recall your skepticism. I am after all these years unable to grasp your persisting doubt, so I try to respect it and try to answer your civil questions with the respect and politeness you richly deserve.

    Wiggins was said by some to be the next Lebron. Many that knew the game, the draft, and appearances of agency and the shoe business had to have at least wondered if he sandbagged like crazy at KU. His ROY first season on a weak team, he effortlessly lit up NBA players, after struggling against the likes of Stanford. Naives IMHO claimed a year of maturity triggered the change, choosing to ignore quotes from a handler during his KU season that he could light up college players any time he wanted. It appears to me he sandbagged, but who but he can ever say for sure. And if he were to have sand bagged, who would ever reasonably expect him to admit having done so?

    Wiggins was taken first by Cleveland but apparently flushed to Minnesota, when he apparently wouldn’t play ball on shoe branding. Had he gone to U.K., signed with WWW, and worn the swoosh, logic suggests he would have stayed in Cleveland with Lebron and GS wouldn’t have any titles. Drafting 1 and then shipping the greatest player since Lebron was excellent shoe brand marketing strategy for Nike and Lebron, whether anyone ever can prove that was why Wigs was drafted 1 and shipped, or not. In the age of small Ball, the Cavs never needed Love. They needed Wiggins much more. But drafting and shipping Wigs to the NBA graveyard of Alta St.Paul preserved the Lebron brand; that was way more important than diluting the Lebron brand and winning a string of rings that built Wigs up for adidas.

    Next, Embiid was apparently a long term franchise project, but became an unexpected rapid developer who, before the freak injury, was apparently planned by adidas to come out the season after Wigs, so adidas had a chance for two consecutive number 1s; obviously, that would have ramped up adidas revenues enough the next ten years to justify even heavier investment in undermining Nike. But Embiid’s injury made it too risky to wait for someone that might become permanently impaired. He apparently jumped early to minimize risk of becoming unmarketable if the injury worsened, before he was truly developed, yet that was the same year the greatest player since Lebron was coming out. adidas probably also factored in the probability of Nike trying to bid up the cost of each one in successive years, along with the injury risk. So: adidas apparently gambled on letting both come out the same year to guaranty at least one stayed with adidas at a cost adidas could afford. 1 and 3 were about the best adidas could hope for from two franchise and potentially great players–one not yet developed and with an injury.

    In turn, drafting and shipping Wigs to Minnesota appears to have been the best possible outcome for Nike and Lebron, given the circumstances and apparent adidas strategy.

    But what I offer remains intended solely as forensic hypothesis to trigger analysis, as surely as would an explanation relying on pure randomness and no strategic interplay involving an apparent possible shoeco-agency complex be so intended. I do not claim to know anything about this for sure.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate-1-0 I guess my persisting doubt flows from the talent that we amass every season. Top 5 talent. The embargo you have mentioned appears limited to PG and C, as you have suggested. Which is big, I admit. There is little I can offer as far as evidence against that thought, given that we have not landed an elite level/ranked PG or C in many moons, despite a system made to order (pre 4 guard) for a top center. The fact is the fact.

    I do find the sandbagging thing very interesting. I viewed Wiggins as soft. One of those, “when the going gets tough, he gets going the other way” kind of guys. There were times during the season that refuted my initial opinion. In fact, by the end of the season, I fell into the Wiggins fan category. JJ was the perfect OAD. Wiggins not as much, but he did perform – and the Stanford deal was much more about game planning by Standford, in my opinion.

    Love seemed like a great fit for Cleveland. The commentators thought so. I really couldn’t form a good opinion given my NBA-less brain.

    Interesting take, for sure.

    I think it is possible that the two PGs taken before JJ had more NBA value initially, given the huge impact the PG can have. But while I am a skeptic, perhaps related to degree of influence, I do not doubt that the shoe company’s exert high influence. Money is involved.

    Rock Chalk to you, as well.

  • Allz I know is I wish my shot were as bad as Jackson’s!

  • I just read that Josh’s deal with the Suns is for 4 years, probably $27,000,000.00. WOW! Were the Celtics on board to offer him that kind of money? Looks to me as though he and his agent made a very wise move, skipping that Celtics workout. What kind of contract will Tatum get with Boston? Guaranteed 3 years, maybe $16,000,000.00?

  • @REHawk

    The rookie scale for the #4 pick would be:

    Year 1 - $4,241,700

    Year 2 - $5,034,600

    Year 3 - $5,882,900

    Year 4 - 26.5% increase over year 3

    Teams can sign players for as much as 120% or as little as 80% of the above figures. $27M would be well above these numbers.

  • @REHawk

    It is phenomenal money either place.

    But base salary is just the start. The register starts ringing into another dimension of wealth, when a Number 1 draft choice becomes the marketing face of the NBA and of a petroshoe brand.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Buffer 1

  • @KirkIsMyHinrich

    So glad you put the numbers together on JJ’s shooting.

    On draft night, I recall hearing that refrain that he can’t shoot and wondering where that perception was coming from because my recollection was that he was a pretty solid contributor and was much more reliable down the stretch during league.

    His 3s were more consistent, but it also seemed like he could get his shot driving whenever he wanted and was pretty good on the stop and pop as an alternative.

    The numbers don’t lie. The draft pundits do.

    The comments on his shooting feel like either misinformation to ward off certain teams or a case of a exaggeration / over-reaction. In either case, it’s not accurate and I think at least one of the first three teams is going to be wishing they picked Josh within 3 years.

  • @bskeet

    I posted similar numbers before. Jackson is a quick learner, he went from being a below average shooter at the start of the season to a solid shooter during Conference play. Anyone that says he is a poor shooter has not seen him play throughout the season and has not done his homework.

  • He has an ugly shot, but it goes in as long as he’s not on the free throw stripe.

  • @dylans

    If you want to talk about ugly (and block-able) shots then Lonzo Ball is at the top of the list…and nobody seems to care or talk much of it.

  • They both have ugly shots. The difference is that JJ’s game isn’t going to be from behind the arc anyways. As long as he can hit an open jumper at a 38% clip he will be fine.

    Lonzo on the other hand, he has more to prove. His D isn’t that good. So if he isn’t amazing all around on offense he will be a very average player.

  • @Kcmatt7

    Spot on. Makes you wonder why he would be picked ahead of Jackson who has much more upside. Of course the hype created by daddy Ball might have had something to do with it in publicity crazy La La land.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I actually think Lonzo has the higher upside. But a waaaay lower floor.

    There aren’t many guys 6’6 who can play the point as well as Lonzo can. And he is going to be blessed with great mentors all around him I think.

    I think Lonzo might have gone before JJ simply from personnel though. With them trying to have space for LBJ and PG next year, there wasnt much room left for JJ on the wing. Not with Ingram already in the team.

  • @Kcmatt7

    Unless he fixes his outside shot so he can score effectively in the League, Lonzo is just another poor man’s Ricky Rubio. I believe that Jackson has already done most of the “fixing” while at KU and now he just need to fine tune his skills and his upside and ceiling are higher than Ball’s.

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