Trying to follow his NBA champion father’s footsteps, Jaren Jackson Jr. has a great NBA career ahead of him. Winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Jackson was rightly picked #4 overall to the Grizzlies with expectations to be the future of Memphis.
Jackson had a wonderful season on a winning Michigan State team with his 11 PPG, 3 BPG, and a field goal percentage at 51.3%. He also shot an impressive 39.6% from deep which would help him spread the floor in the increasingly run-and-gun NBA .
The Grizzlies picking up Jaren Jackson was an underrated pick because barely anyone is talking about it. Jackson played great in college and he’s bound to have a good career in the NBA, but I don’t see him becoming any type of star.
Like Marvin Bagley, Jackson has to be able to play tough in a league of physical big men, and in college he didn’t really show that he can get mean and gritty down low.
Jackson is not assertive and didn’t shoot as much as the other top prospects in the draft. With an increased volume of shots in the NBA, Jackson could see a large dip in efficiency and shooting percentage. Jackson also had a turnover problem as he dribbles too much.
In his first summer league game though, Jackson showed he can adapt to the pace of the NBA with his 29 points and 8-13 from deep. He played absolutely lights out. The same weekend though, Lebron came to LA. Although it’s just one player, it makes the West even more stacked than it is with talent which makes an All-Star appearance out of reach for Jackson.
Jackson is very similar to Bagley in the way that they both have to adapt to the toughness of the NBA if they want to succeed down the road. Jackson can still be a great player as he has an outside shot, shot blocking ability, and overall versatility.
He is a great example of a modern NBA prospect. He’ll be one of the best players on his team but not one of the best power forwards. Still, keep an eye out for him to burst into the scene.