44 - Justin Jackson

6-8, 200 Small Forward
North Carolina Junior
03/28/95 (27.7 yrs)
Spring, TX
High School
Team Site Profile
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Ball Handling

NBA Comparison: Rod Higgins

Strengths: Playing for a team like UNC, Jackson will come into the league having a ton of big game experience on his resume…In addition, he’s proven himself to be a big time player on the big stage and high-pressure situations … A solid and fluid athlete with an all-around skill set … Smart player and has good intangibles …Versatile scoring ability … Capable of scoring in bunches … His 6-foot-8, 201-pound size should allow him to play out on the wing, as stretch-four, or down low at times at the next level … 6-foot-11 wingspan gives him great length…Has made major strides in his shooting … His improved mechanics have helped him release the ball much cleaner and faster … Is much more confident as a shooter … Can shoot the ball with range … Jackson has become a more efficient shooter from various spots on the floor, thanks to his improved mechanics …Can knock down mid-range jumpers consistently … Timely three-point shooter…Acts as a spot-up weak-side threat and can even shoot coming off pindown screens … Comfortable sprinting into catch and shoot threes turning left or right … Does a great job of relocating for quick handoff after giving up the ball … Makes the right reads on and off the ball to help him score … Adequate scorer off the dribble coming off curls or on straight line drives…When he gets to the basket, he likes to score off floaters or pull-up jumpers … Has shown that he can be a crafty finisher when he does get all the way to the basket … Can score on the move, as he frequently creates scoring opportunities for himself by way of off-ball movements … Can bend the defense with his off-ball cuts and shiftiness off screens … Has the ability to read screens in set plays or finding open spaces in a more free flowing offense … Jackson is a good playmaker for his teammates … He’s a willing and capable ball-mover … He sees the floor well and is capable of delivering accurate and tough passes to set up his teammates … Has a good feel for the game … Defensively, he excels on that end of the court … A good communicator on this end of the floor … His size and athletic tools give him the ability to be terrific position defender, as well as guard multiple positions … He’s not a player who’ll end up with high steal and block averages, but he’s good for coming up with timely steals and blocks at key points in a game … He can get by screens and keep up with smaller wings on the perimeter or hold his own against bigger post players in the paint …

Not the most athletic wing that’ll come out of this draft … Does not have elite explosiveness … Has a thin and lanky body frame, which could limit him on both ends … May struggle with the physicality of the NBA early on in his career … Adding strength will help him reach his ceiling as a small forward or small-ball 4-man, especially defensively when guarding the likes of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard in the NBA … He’ll need to show that he able to get to the basket and score against bigger defenders … On defense, there are questions about whether or not he’ll be able to prevent stronger and thicker opponents from bullying him in the paint … Doesn’t project to be a lockdown defender at this point in time … His lateral quickness and physical build didn’t always seem to hold up when guarding NBA-level wing players …When he’s hot, he’s hot, but otherwise, he’s a streaky shooter (still not an elite shooter) … Can sometimes be careless with the ball, leading to turnovers … Struggles creating offense off the dribble out of pick and roll and isolation situations … Lacks an elite first step when trying to get into space and struggles to handle the ball in traffic … He’s not able to shake his defender off the dribble on a consistent basis … Many of his drives are cut off by defenders before he can get into the lane … He can get stuck dribbling from sideline to sideline instead of toward the rim … When he does get into the paint, he’ll rather shoot a floater than attempt to take contact at the rim … May have trouble finishing around the basketball against longer defenders due to lack of strength and explosiveness … Does not attempt many free throws (just 4.2 attempts per 40 minutes) … Can be a better rebounder for his size and athletic ability … Averaged just 4.0 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes … Doesn’t seem confident enough to throw his weight around in traffic to fight for loose balls …

Overall: Jackson tested the NBA waters after his sophomore season. But he decided to return to UNC after some unfavorable reviews of his game due to a disappointing pre-draft process. Fast forward to now, he’s seemingly put a lot of work into areas of his game that scouts told him he needed to improve. He enters the draft coming off a great season for the North Carolina Tarheels. He was named ACC Player of the Year while averaging 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Per 40 minutes, those numbers inflated to 22.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. But his biggest accomplishment was helping the Tarheels redeem their crushing 2016 National Title defeat to take home the 2017 title by defeating Gonzaga. Throughout the NCAA tournament, Jackson averaged 19.5 points per game, and was his team’s second-leading scorer in both Final Four games, coming up big on the defensive end as well. Jackson’s role in UNC’s success over the past three years, as well as his size, lengths, improved shooting, high basketball IQ, and terrific defense makes him an extremely intriguing prospect with a potentially high ceiling. He should expect to hear his name called in the mid-to-late first round of this year’s draft.

Tajh Jenkins 6/5/17

Strengths: Long and fluid athlete … Solid length/wingspan for his position … A versatile player who plays and defends multiple positions … Brings a nice mix of scoring and court vision/passing … Has a polished and smooth offensive game … Great size for the small forward position at the next level … Uses his combination of size and soft touch to efficiently score in the paint and around the basket … Does a lot of his scoring from mid-range and in the painted area … Possesses an effective and quick floater … Shoots his floaters in a way that makes it difficult for defenders to anticipate … Can easily rise up and knock down contested shots off over smaller defenders … Effective scoring the ball from the paint/mid-range (due to his size) … Has a scorer’s mentality/instinct … Can score in a variety of ways from all over the floor … Packs a consistent and deadly mid-range pull-up jumper and floater off the bounce … Consistently gets out into transition … An opportunistic scorer on the fast break … Like to run ahead of the pack … Handles the ball well in transition and moves the ball ahead to rim runners … Gets up and down the court in the hurry thanks to his long strides and sprinting ability … Fills the lanes correctly … Solid shooter … Good spot up shooter from the 3-point line … Has a smooth, quick release and nice hop on his jump shot … Sets his feet and gets squared up … Comfortable attacking the basket in the half court with his left or right hand … Fluid when driving the basketball in a straight line … Loves to attack closeouts from the perimeter … Quick first step and long strides gain him a step on his defenders … He likes to catch on the wing before taking a hard dribble or two towards the baseline and loft up a floater … Has great play making, attacking and shooting ability when coming off screens … Knows how to make plays from ball swings or kick outs …When he gets to the basket he does a nice job of extending and using angles to find space for his shot … His soft touch combined with his ability to find space actually makes him a great finisher even though he relies on the mid-range game so much … He does a great job catching and finishing on the move near the hoop … Effective without the ball in his hands…Moves fluidly … Finds gaps in defenses and makes timely/quick cuts … Excellent passing ability … Court vision and size allows him to make passes that smaller wings cannot … A good decision maker with the ball on dump-offs to big men and kick outs to shooters … Capable of seeing over the top of the defense … Distributes the ball well off the pick-and-roll … Plays with a good pace and can change speeds off the pick-and-roll … Effective passing to the roll man … Recovers well on defense and takes up space … Has a knack for cleaning up his teammates misses around the hoop … Unselfish player … Good feel for the game … Plays within himself and within the offense … Makes simple plays and doesn’t try to do too much … Plays with poise and doesn’t let the defense force him into bad decisions … His versatile skill set and unselfish approach to the game makes him a good fit for any team … High basketball IQ …

Weaknesses: Average run/jump athleticism … Needs to show that he can bring more toughness to the game on both ends … Thin body frame … Needs to continue to fill out his frame and get stronger … There’s a question of how much mass can his frame hold … Not a physical player … Needs to work on gaining some explosiveness … Gets knocked out of position easily when he gets hit … He avoids contact when driving to the rim … Often loses concentration when he’s crowded around the basket … Fails to get all the way to the basket or the free throw line because he lacks strength and explosiveness … Doesn’t have the type of bounce to jump into defenders, re-adjust and finish … Stops short and often turns down open lanes to the rim … Tends to take runners, long floaters, and short pull-up jumpers in the lane instead of shots at the rim … Capable of scoring at the rim when he does get there, but isn’t as effective finishing in traffic vs. size/length … At times, he shoots too many fades or sideways jumpers when bigs meet him at the rim … Lack of strength stops him from being able to keep defenders on his hip … Can still show improvement with being able to get to his shot off the bounce … A good handle on the ball, but not overly advanced … Bigger and stronger wings can contain him on the perimeter and impede his driving ability … Lacks the ball-handling needed to thrive in isolation but he has enough control to probe in pick and roll … Has the height to play the four position but can be over-matched by stronger power forwards … Has good mechanics on his jumper, but he’s a better shooter off the catch than he is off the bounce … Doesn’t have the best rotation on the ball … Needs to extend his shooting range and make 3-pointers more consistently … Needs to work on 3-point shooting … Consistency with shot rotation needs improvement … Defensively, he may have some issues containing NBA-size small forwards … His defensive stance and body frame are both hunched … Needs to work on his lower body strength … Hips aren’t flexible and his defensive stance is stiff and upright … Struggles when guarding quicker wings because he can’t change speeds in short spaces … Has to work on his lateral quickness … Sometimes gets caught playing defense on his heels … Tends to get caught on a lot of off ball screens due to his thin frame and average defensive awareness … Not an awful defender but does have a lot to work on … Doesn’t assert himself on the defensive boards … Can get pushed around on the glass … Age may be a concern for some scouts and pro teams (will turn 21 this school year as a sophomore) …

Overall: After a successful freshman campaign with the Tar Heels, Jackson entered this season as a noteworthy prospect for next year’s draft. Last season, Jackson averaged 10.7 points on 47 percent shooting, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. This season, he’s currently at 14.1 points on 51 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. The Texas native has a variety of ways in which he can put the ball in the hoop. His natural scoring ability combined with his size and feel for the game makes him an intriguing prospect to keep track off during this season. One area he really needs to work on is his 3-point shooting. As a freshman, he shot just 30 percent from long range. This season he’s down to 28 percent, so far. Defensively, he has the physical tools to eventually become a solid defender but needs to sure up a few things on that end. His continuing physical development will be key to his progression as a defender. Right now, though, defense looks like it may be a major weakness at the next level (aside from his shooting if it doesn’t improve). His physical development will also play a big role in his ability to withstand contact finish in traffic offensively. With that said, Jackson is still without a doubt an appealing draft prospect (as a mid-late first round pick) for next year’s draft or beyond.

Notes: Measured 6’7 (in shoes) 168 lbs, with a 6’9 wingspan at the 2011 LeBron James Skills Academy … Measured 6’7 (in shoes) 173 lbs (said 273, but obviously a typo), with a 6’9.5 wingspan at the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy … Measured 6’8 (in shoes) 189 lbs, with a 6’9.5 wingspan at the 2013 Kevin Durant Skills Academy … Measured 6’8.5’’ in shoes, with a 6’10’’ wingspan and 200 lbs at the 2015 Nike Basketball Academy …

Tajh Jenkins 12/16/15

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