On Josh Jackson, the Prospect who Fills Needs (just not all of them)

Darius Soriano —  June 13, 2017

“With the #2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select…Josh Jackson, University of Kansas.”

There is a real possibility that exact sentence is uttered by Adam Silver at next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Jackson, the do-it-all F out of Kansas, reportedly has his supporters in the organization, with Chad Ford noting that the organization might actually be “split” between drafting the presumptive #2 Lonzo Ball or selecting Jackson:

I also think it reflects a genuine split within the organization about whom the best long-term candidate is. Ball was a clear favorite of the prior administration run by Mitch Kupchak and still has his fans within the organization. But the Lakers also took note on how Fox outplayed Ball in their head-to-head matchup in March. And Jackson has always been another favorite in the organization.

While the feeling is that Ball is a good fit with the Lakers offensively, Fox and Jackson are gritty defenders and vocal leaders on the court, something the Lakers feel the team is lacking. Jackson in particular seems to have some strong supporters in the organization who think defense should be the priority.

I still think they lean toward Ball, but I’d put the odds somewhere like this: Ball 40 percent, Jackson 35 percent, Fox 25 percent.

I’ve covered Ball’s game and fit already, so I won’t get into that too much now. My simple summary, though: Ball’s offensive game and, specifically, his approach to playing the game (fast, fun, making the right play consistently) offer an almost perfect alignment with how Luke Walton wants his team to play. Combine that with Ball’s considerable ceiling and I think he’s the prime candidate for the #2 pick (assuming Markelle Fultz is drafted #1).

Saying all that about Ball, however, shouldn’t diminish the qualities Jackson brings to the table. Nor should they overshadow that Jackson, with his potential as a two-way difference maker, is also a very good fit for the Lakers in both the short and long term.

Let’s start with the obvious – Jackson has very good physical tools for an NBA wing. At nearly 6’8″, almost a 6’10” wingspan, and just over 200 pounds, Jackson has NBA ready measurables. Yes, I’d like for his length to be a bit better but this is in no way a deal breaker. His measurements (taken at the 2016 Hoop Summit) are nearly identical to Klay Thompson’s who has no difficulties guarding one-through-three at the NBA level. Jackson also has very good athleticism and a high motor, which, in some ways can make up for his lack of length.

I don’t want to oversell Jackson’s athletic prowess (he’s not a prime Vince Carter or anything), but it should be noted that if he were the pick he’d instantly become the team’s best athlete. He’s a very good leaper of one or two feet, which translates to an ability to play above the rim on both sides of the ball. He also possess very good quickness, which manifests in ways from being able to slide with ball-handlers off the dribble to getting off the floor quickly to challenge a shot or corral a rebound. He also changes ends quickly and shows very good explosiveness when getting downhill either off the dribble or on cuts to the basket.

Moving beyond the physical, Jackson’s game is a amalgamation of multiple skills wings need to be successful at the pro level. He’s a good ball handler who can create off the dribble for himself with straight-line drives off more basic moves (crossovers, spins, etc). He’s an excellent ball mover and passer who can do very well in the middle of the court either as a pressure release man or out of short rolls when he’s a used as a screener. He’s shown some ability to handle the ball in the P&R, showing deft recognition skills as a passer to his roll man and an understanding of where his shooters are spotting up around the arc.

While this type of spatial awareness isn’t at the level of Lonzo Ball’s or a guy like Ben Simmons (another ball-handling forward), it shouldn’t be downplayed. Much in the way that Brandon Ingram helped grease the wheels of the offense by making quick reads and passes that were on time and on target, Jackson offers similar ability. And while he’s not necessarily viewed as a “point forward” now, in time, I envision him being able to initiate the offense and work as a secondary ball handler while actions are run to get teammates in optimal positions to score as off-ball workers.

As a scorer, Jackson has several tools in his bag that should translate right away to the pro level. First, he can be a demon in transition, pushing the ball himself or filling the lane for easy baskets. Also, the same IQ that makes him a good passer translates to how he moves off the ball as a cutter, often showing a great awareness of when his man is cheating or not paying close enough attention. He does well to beat closeouts with hard drives to the rim and, once there, has excellent body control to finish around the rim if he’s not able to simply finish over the top with power.

Jackson also proved to be a “bucket getter” at the NCAA level. He improved his shooting as his freshman season progressed and was able to hit open shots created for him as a spot up option. He also showed enough of a varied attack in isolation, showing the requisite skill to either get off his jumper or get to the paint where he could create a shot. Also, because Jackson played a lot of PF at Kansas (more on this later), he was able to score on mismatches when he had an athleticism advantage (against bigger players) or get into the paint on post ups and duck-ins on switches (against smaller players).

For all the varied ways Jackson could help an offense, though, one of the key reasons he’d be in the conversation for the #2 pick is because of how he projects as a defensive player at the next level. If looking big picture, the one thing that stands out about Jackson defensively is how he competes on that end. He wants to guard the other team’s best player and relishes the opportunity to try to shut him down. He plays with a high motor and will show the desire to make the extra rotation or will chase the action when he’s behind the play in transition to contest shots from the arc to the rim. These are traits every team wants, but ones that the Lakers are especially lacking.

Additionally, when zooming in, he shows good fundamental ability as an individual and team defender. He can sit in his stance and slide with ball handlers and shows active hands both on and off the ball. He shows good instincts when rotating and can be a presence in the passing lanes or when challenging shots at the rim. Block and steal rates are stats which can indicate how defensive ability translates from college to the NBA and Jackson, with his combination of athleticism and instincts shows out well in these areas.

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Of course, if you read the above, you might think Jackson is the next coming of Tracy McGrady or some other HOF two-way wing. And while Jackson’s ceiling is high, there’s a reason he’s not considered the top prospect in this draft and, in many lists by top college talent evaluators he’s behind both Fultz and Ball.

First, while I don’t think this is a huge deal, Jackson is almost a year older than most other freshman in his class. Jackson is already 20 years old and will be 21 in February of next season. For comparison’s sake, that’s only a year younger than D’Angelo Russell (just turned 21 on February 21st) and is actually 9 months older than Brandon Ingram (will not be 20 until September of this year). While I fully believe Jackson has plenty of time to improve and grow into the best version of himself as a player, scouts do value that extra year and it does impact how his development arc is viewed and his college stats will be interpreted.

Second, it remains unclear to me how Jackson playing so much PF in college will impact how smoothly he transitions to playing the wing in the pro game. At Kansas, a lot of the offensive actions Jackson was involved in were tilted towards how big men play, but in the NBA this will not be the case much, if at all, early on in his career. For instance, it remains to be seen how much Jackson will be used as a screener, how often he’ll be able to duck into the post on switches, or how often he’ll be spotting up while having a “PF” being the one closing out on him. These are all actions Jackson thrived at as a Jayhawk and I wonder what adjustments he can make if these actions are limited when he gets to the league.

Further, I question whether Jackson will capably slide up to PF at the pro level like he did at Kansas. Again, though he has the athleticism and “dog” in him to compete against bigger players, he’s not as long as other SF’s who slide up to PF — for example, Kawhi is an inch shorter than Jackson but has a 5 inch longer wingspan. That lack of length can hurt him on the boards, when contesting shots both at the rim and on closeouts, and on offense when bigger players are defending him. Ultimately, if Jackson ends up being more of a SF/SG rather than a SF/PF, not only does his utility change (which isn’t a huge deal), but it moves him further away from what he did at Kansas as mostly a PF and then, in theory, could negatively impact his transition to the pros.

This could end up mattering for a variety of reasons, but the most important is how Jackson’s shooting could impact spacing. While Jackson’s stats and skill set clearly point to a player with offensive ability, questions remain about how well his jumper will translate to the pro level. While his stats say he shot 37.8% on three pointers, reviewing the film on these shots adds needed context. Again, his logging so many minutes at PF matters. Operating on a spaced floor as one of the “bigs” meant he had more room to shoot those shots. And because of Jackson’s shooting form/motion — he has a low release point and brings the ball pretty far in front of his body as he raises the ball up to his release — getting that shot off cleanly against NBA wings will be a different experience than he had in college.

None of this is to say he cannot adjust or that with good coaching his mechanics won’t improve. And again, this cannot be ignored: he made shots at Kansas. So, some of the skepticism that exists around him is in spite of the numbers. That said, when you look at his FT% (mid 50’s) and note how that can translate to shooting ability, then add that to a longer NBA three point line, I think some of the doubts that exist are more than fair. And, in some real ways, actually worrisome.

And, believe me, teams are going to make Jackson prove he can shoot before they actually guard him like he can. This will mean fewer drives against close outs, teams going under screens on him when he handles the ball on the screen and roll, and, in general, fewer opportunities for him to work against the type of tight defense he can leverage his athleticism against to create drives and/or shots at the rim. In a vacuum, these are things that can be overcome. However, put him on this shooting starved Lakers’ roster and you can see how things could be dicey for him and the team as they deal with defenses who shrink the floor.

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After saying all that, I don’t want to taint Jackson too much, if at all. He’s a really good prospect whose current skill set and abilities on both ends of the floor can make for a player who fills in a lot of gaps in the short term, and whose ability to grow current weaknesses while expanding on things he already does well make him a fascinating long term player. Then, with his competitive streak and the edge he plays with, it’s hard not to like what you’re going getting in him.

Ideally, in 5 years, you have a player who can make jumpers (spot ups and off the dribble when players go under screens), be a ball-handler in the P&R, and defend multiple positions. Add these skills to what he can currently do as a passer, cutter, and defender, and that would be a very good two-way wing. When looking at the Lakers, how many of those do they have? Yeah. In a less than ideal world, you have a player whose jumper is spotty, but has enough playmaking, passing, competitive fire, and defense to still be a high level rotation player for a long time. I mean, that sounds like a pretty good floor to me.

Does this mean that Jackson should be the pick? Personally, I still lean towards Ball. I think his defense will end up being good enough and that his skill set and style he brings to the table offensively can help be transformative to the Lakers’ roster. That said, Jackson is a more than reasonable pick too, even if I have him slightly below Lonzo. We’ll see how the Lakers view things on draft night.


Darius Soriano

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44 responses to On Josh Jackson, the Prospect who Fills Needs (just not all of them)

  1. We should not pass on “Josh Jackson” that kid got that Lebron, talent. He has been head and shoulder above all those kids in the draft since his freshmen year in high school. He will compete 110 o/o on both ends of the court. No disrespect to the other kids, but they don’t have that “DOG”, Josh is gifted like Kobe. Please don’t follow the hype keep it real we need a guy who can play 2,3,4,5 not someone who can play just the 1! When Big The Captain went down Magic went in the post and battle the 76’s Philadelphia. Magic Johnson was special just like this kid Josh Jackson. I Watched him compete with all these kids in USA Olympic he couldn’t be touched. All the college coaches know it .

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  2. I like the Lonzo kid because he is a good kid, but he will face more “superior” guards, and he will get expose tremendously. The LA media will feast on his hype and no action . Lord know see it out there at his position plus he’s not better D. Russ.

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  3. A Horse With No Name June 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Fair and unbiased, just like the news–never mind. Kidding aside, a solid write up. If it is Jackson, I think it comes down to superior workouts (showed better than advertised shot and wowed with his athleticism), and recognizing that he is closer to the position-less two-way ideal player that can guard 3-4 positions and switch than Ball is. Also, that his flaws aren’t as worrying as Ball’s might be.

    Truly no one knows what the lakers will do right now–and that’s how it should be if the lakers are trying to maximize their leverage. My “read the tea leaves” sense of things is that there is some significant noise that suggests Jackson is the pick. Much intrigue though.

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    • Clay Bertrand June 13, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      I particularly wanted to see how you thought about this analysis on JJ. I know you have been high on him and favor him as the pick. Frankly, as I have said before, there are enough question marks for both Ball and Jackson to give reason NOT to draft them. I kind of see Jackson developing into an Iguodala type of player (not a bad thing at all). Ball for me is harder to peg.

      As much as its great to have the #2 pick, in a way, its more of a curse than a blessing (except that we HAD to keep the pick and it HAD to be high to do so). The pressure to NAIL the pick this high is tremendous and I think that kind of pressure can lead to a team following the hype on a guy more than they would if they were drafting like in the 6-10 range. Conversely, you have people saying, “Player X is a great prospect BUT #2 is too high to take him.” This notion that the hype must match the draft position is a dangerous philosophy to have. At the end of the day, we all know that many of the BEST players were not takin particularly high. For every Lebron and Kyrie and Tim Duncan, you have your Kobe, McGrady, Kawhi etc.

      Add in the local buzz from the BALL EFFECT and there is an added element of external pressure to pick Ball. Couple that with the fact that this is a new FO regime and one that has NEVER been through a draft in their respective roles (other than the holdover scouts) and you have a lot of pressure to get this pick right AND to please the masses.

      Watching Strengths and Weakness vids on both players show huge upside and big potential worries for each. Which leads me to agree with you and your assessment that the individual workouts likely loom large here. Like Darius, I also tend to think the Lakers lean toward Ball but wouldn’t it be interesting if they could trade down and get 2 picks like Tatum and Smith or Smith and Isaacs (as I believe you may have hinted at in another post)??? Isaacs reminds me of Ingram, physically at least.

      The intrigue is real though for sure. Whether confusion and uncertainty were what the FO wanted to create, or whether this suspense is all just natural because there is no clear cut guy, its fun for us to watch unfold. I hope we get a great impact player but I certainly wouldn’t want to be Pelinka and Magic……. Decisions Decisions…….

      4+

  4. Note to Lakers FO: please hire J West to look at these kidz!

    2+

    • Clay Bertrand June 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      Agree 100%. This would be an easy move to make. He would come in at the Consultant level. What are Magic and Rob worried about??? Or is it a Jeannie thing??? If this is about money that would really be crappy.

      Take notice of PROGRESSIVE ownership and people who have been powerful CEO leaders. You have the Champion Warriors and the very competitive Clippers both trying to lock down Jerry West who openly states his desire to return to the LAST PLACE, REBUILDING Lakers where his son is working.

      The NBA is a zero sum game. Gaining Jerry and depriving the other teams of his insight is a no brainer. Too bad for the Lakers, they appear to have no brains on this matter. Its like they are trying to spit in the face of destiny. I find it unfathomable that Magic and Pelinka would not bring Jerry West into the Laker fold. Its as great of a PR move as it is a basketball one and for an organization trying to get back to greatness, why not start by adding an architect of it???? SMH……….

      6+

      • Wups – my bad – evidently West is still under contract to the Warriors, until July sometime. Still, I’d love to know what he thinks of Ball, et al.

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        • Clay Bertrand June 13, 2017 at 3:37 pm

          Bigger picture, it would be a benefit to have Jerry back even post draft.

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        • I would not be surprised if Jerry West is current on the top prospects and has had conversations with his son about them. We possibly get the benefit of Jerry’s wisdom indirectly anyway. But, to R’s point, it would have been nice to have him fully back in the Lakers fold.

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  5. Please, no Kobe comparisons. Kobe was brought in as a 16 year old to work out against potential 76er draft picks. Kobe destroyed them. Look at the strengths video for Fox. That tall Kansas player who Fox treated as a speed bump was Josh Jackson. I am concerned about the off court problems Jackson had at Kansas as well as his shooting. If his stroke can be fixed, I agree he is a valuable player. If not, he becomes an energizer bunny off the bench.

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  6. NO JOSH JACKSON ! Easy call. For the following reasons…

    1. He’s a weak shooter, and that’s LA’s area of greatest need, offensively. It’s not even close. For the Walton offense, it’s terrible. For D’Angelo, who needs a good transition guy and decision maker to allow him to roam as an off-ball sniper. For Ingram, who can benefit from a transition game, and ball mover.

    2. He’s FAR, FAR from an elite defensive prospect. Yeah, I know he did pretty well against college kids, but in the NBA he’s WAY too undersized to be an all-defensive guy. First, if you are going to splurge the # 2 pick on a defensive guy, he should be elite. Second, wing defenders are NEVER elite without elite length. Kawhi Leonard has a 7’3″ wingspan. He’s elite. But Josh Jackson has a 6’10” wingspan. That’s about 2 inches LESS than both Blake Griffin and Kevin Love, who have both been notoriously hampered by their length on D. So, that rules out Jackson EVER being able to defend 4’s. So, what do you have ? A middling length wing who won’t be able to cover any good 4’s or stretch 4’s, and won’t be able to shadow or block any decent length 3’s… not elite.

    3. He’s 9 months OLDER than Ingram. That’s crazy. That essentially compromises the entire data set on Jackson. He’s got bad measurements and shot percentages, so all he has that is good is his performance against the other players in college. However, that is compromised by the fact that he’s not going to be a skilled 4 in the NBA, but an undershooting 3, with average length. The other factor is that, while he is a lotto talent, he benefits from being MUCH older than the other lotto talents, which is why he looks so good.

    Ball will be elite, even if he never is the half court dominator. He will enable D’Angleo, Ingram, the entire offense, and I’d bet my shorts he’ll be fine as a pick and roll operator in the halfcourt.

    Buy a vet for defense on the wing… PG anyone ?

    11+

    • I agree with you 100%. Why are these people making this so hard. Magic is going to kill his legacy as a front office guy before it even starts ! SMH

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  7. This kind of hype keeps me fantasizing. I can imagine the 76ers trading the #3 for Russell, and the Lakers taking Ball and Jackson.

    3+

    • Rick in Seattle June 15, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Got to admit i had the same thought. Cannot decide, then pick both. Another way might be to trade down and and get additional assets.

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      • Rick in Seattle June 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        Just read on SB Nation that the Lakers are now considering trading the @2 pick. Were we prophetic or what? Great minds think alike! .

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  8. Usually the Lakers have worked out their top pick two times. Let`s see if the new regime continues the pattern and who they bring in for a second workout.Ball`s best skills are not displayed in an individual workout,although I think he `s capable of sinking many uncontested 3`s.There is a lot of pressure to get it right,so more than one guy might be brought in for a second time.

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  9. A Horse With No Name June 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Mikey: Jason Kidd and Kobe both had positional elite length, right? Jackson’s not being drafted by whomever for his ability to defend fours. He defended fours in college because his coach thought it made sense for his team. Truth is, he killed wings defensively (see Jayson Tatum). His lateral quickness, foot speed and hops are all elite. He’s a 2/3 in the NBA and his length, coupled with his 6’8″ height is more than adequate. But here’s the deal breaker: he’s SEVEN months older than Ball! That’s a non-starter right there, right?

    Fred: No, I am not Junior. But, I did say in the last thread that I find Jackson’s and Kobe’s similar traits interesting. Am I implying he’s the next generational laker player? Of course not. But I like his Kobe-like attributes–that counts for a lot. I know you bristled at the Kobe reference above–that’s exactly how I feel when Ball is described as the new and improved Jason Kidd. Kidd was a top level two-way player out of the gate. As a rookie he was impacting games defensively in a way I don’t ever see Ball being capable of. Just say’in.

    Clay: I hope the lakers decision makers put on their big boy pants and make the decision on the pick without any concern about local clamor. If that’s how they arrive at a final decision, they are in the wrong business–or any business. Good post above!

    1+

    • Horse: although I think we essentially agree about passing on Jackson, I think it fair to point out that both Jason Kidd and Kobe did have elite length when they were drafted in the mid 90s. The league was a position based league at the time, and Jason Kidd, at over 6’4″ and built like a truck was huge for a PG, and big enough to cross defend most 2s. Kobe, likewise, was a huge 2 guard. I’m pretty sure he was the tallest in the league at the time, or close.

      However, these guys were also primarily offensive players. Jason Kidd was an unstoppable transition player and a passing force. Kobe was Kobe.

      While both players were good defenders, neither would have been worth a top 2 pick on defense alone.

      In today’s league, length isore important than ever as there are more cross switching schemes and zone sets, etc. Point is, it’s far from clear that Jackson will ever be an all league defender or anything like that… He’s just really dominant because not many too lottery talents stay in until his age.

      Either way, the Lakers can’t be that dumb to take him in a shooting and passing based system when a guy like Ball is on the board.

      3+

      • A Horse With No Name June 13, 2017 at 9:36 pm

        I liked your comment FYI. Good response. Of course length is important. The best comp for Jackson is Wiggins. Both 6’8″, 200 lbs or so. Wiggins has a 7ft. Wingspan. Jackson’s is 6’10”. Jackson is already a better defender than Wiggins. The biggest differences are intelligence and heart/will. Jackson is superior here. His coach, Bill Self said he really stands out over other guys he’s coached. Jimmy Butler is a great defender, can cover 1-3 spots. His wingspan is 6’7″. Iguadola’s is 6’11”–a whooping inch longer than Jackson’s. You are making too much of wingspan without considering lateral quickness and straight line footspeed, for example.

        You seem to be unaware of Jackson’s passing acumen. He’s a great passer and ball mover. It would be dumb for the lakers to pass on a guy who fits Luke’s system at both ends perfectly.

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      • Kobe was a point guard when he was drafted.

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  10. My big board is as follows: #1 Fultz, #2 Jackson and #3 Ball.

    While many other posters may think I’m crazy I assure you that I am not of the tin foil hat ilk. However, the machinations at the top of the NBA draft these past 10 days have led me to believe that the Lakers FO are in the process of playing their own version of the ‘House of Cards’ in an effort to manipulate the draft. Allow me to lay out the facts of my conspiracy theory.

    The assumptions:
    1. The Lakers love Fultz and want to draft him. But holding the #2 pick means they do not control their destiny. Likely scenarios have the Celtics taking Fultz at #1.
    2. Boston likes Fultz but they are only 75% sure that he’s the best fit. Reasons for their concern are that Fultz is a PG/SG and Boston is deep with backcourt players: IT, Bradley, Smart, Rozier are all guards — plus Jaylen Brown and Gerald Green can also play SG. Simply put their backcourt is beyond jammed. Translation: they could be tempted to trade down and go in another direction if the deal were sweet enough.
    3. Philadelphia has promised Simmons that he will have the ball in his hands. They view him as the franchise cornerstone so they are leery of irritating him by bringing in another alpha ball handler — Fultz is not ideal because of this. They view Ball or Jackson as better fits and as such the 76ers will be happy taking whomever the Lakers don’t take.

    Up until a week ago the draft was going to play out as follows: Boston takes Fultz the Lakers take Ball and the Sixers take Jackson. I believe that is when Magic/Pelinka put their plan in motion.

    1. The Lakers work out Ball and the initial feedback is that they weren’t impressed. There are concerns about Lonzo’s conditioning. The Lakers then work out Jackson — the feedback is beyond positive.
    2. The Sixers’ Colangelo comments that Lavar Balls’ comments/actions while not a deal breaker are concerning. This coupled with the negative feedback from the Lakers on Ball and Lonzo’s feet dragging regarding agreeing to a workout moves Jackson to the forefront of the 76ers draft board. Except now Jackson appears to be going one pick ahead of Philadelphia, to the Lakers.
    3. The 76ers are now set on drafting Jackson to play along with Embiid and Simmons. To ensure that they get their man, Philadelphia will be ‘forced’ to trade up with Boston, flipping the #3 pick and other assets to Boston for the #1 pick. The 76ers will then draft Josh Jackson #1 overall.
    4. Boston can stay at #3 or flip the pick with other assets to Chicago for Butler or Indy for PG. I think Cleveland getting crushed in the finals makes the Celtics think that the Cavs are vulnerable and that a team with IT, Horford and Paul (or Butler) can win the East next year. Drafting more kids means the Celtics waste the last productive years of Horford and IT. Drafting more kids potentially widens Boston’s competitive window but also risks missing a prime opportunity while IT (pending free agency) and Horford (getting older) are playing really well.
    5. The Lakers will select Fultz with the #2 pick. Fultz teams with Russell to become the Western Conference version of the Wizards’ John Wall and Bradley Beal. Fultz/Russell becomes the foundation of a team that in three years time unseats the Warriors as Western Conference Champs.

    14+

    • Concerned: Very creative indeed.

      The fly in the ointment is that Ainge has been so good at stockpiling draft picks that the Celtics have two big men stashed overseas: Ante Zizic (a 6’11” center) and Guerschon Yabusele (a 6’9″ PF) are a year away from contributing in the NBA. Their presence minimizes the risk of Horford’s shorter window. Plus, the Celtics can easily shed enough salary to fit Gordon Hayward in under the cap so the urgency to get a top wing via trade is also minimized.

      I think the signs still point to the Celtics taking the longer view and selecting Fultz.

      However, I’m with you in that I’d love to see Fultz become a Laker. Fultz and Russell would indeed be Wall/Beal west.

      2+

  11. Or we can assume Fultz will “force” his way to LA just like some thought KAT would do and just like some thought Simmons would do …

    I do agree the Cavs may well miss the Finals next year and the Celtics may take their place. Yes, that is plausible.

    The rest of your scenario however is pretty creative! I highly doubt that other teams front offices are so easily manipulated.

    1+

  12. Oh by the way, is Brandon Ingram still reminding anybody of KD?

    3+

    • Just like KD, Ingram’s team stunk his first year.

      1+

    • Did the 18yo Kobe remind anyone of the 27yo Kobe?

      1+

    • Clay Bertrand June 13, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Well they both have Tattoos……..kinda sorta similar in that regard no???

      1+

    • Just for clarity, Durant came into the league 25 pounds heavier than Ingram. In other words, Ingram was significantly less physically developed, and I think his true potential will take a little longer to demonstrate itself.

      He also appears to be more post oriented than Durant, even if he can’t stay down there for extended periods just yet.

      1+

  13. Lonzo Ball please. He’s a 19 year old 6’6″ point guard prodigy. Can you imagine if he was one year older and playing in college? We wouldn’t even be talking about Josh Jackson.

    2+

  14. A Horse With No Name June 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Concerned: It’s a thing of beauty–props. But, the third pick and pieces won’t get Butler from the Bulls (#4). If that’s what Boston desires, they will simply offer the first pick and pieces. They just might, as Hayward to the Celtics is a definite possibility. With Butler and Hayward, they get the big jump to possibly take down Cleveland. Your #3 is also problematic. Ball is probably the best fit there alongside Simmons. Colangelo might of been doing a bit of spinning himself, as he voiced concerns (sowing doubts), but then said the concerns weren’t deal breakers. Are they leaning this way or that way? Crafty.

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  15. I think I like Ball more than Jackson, but truthfully neither one would come close to turning around the team. Neither looks like a franchise player to me. Whichever we go with we are going to fill a need with a talented but flawed player and either way we are going to need a lot more defense and shooting to be competitive in the regular season.

    2+

  16. I think there’s a bigger picture that needs to be kept at the forefront of this discussion.

    Jackson is a talented athlete on both ends of the floor, { though not the next Lebron as someone mentioned above – Lol } and he would be an excellent addition to any team.

    Ball however has has the ability to improve a team, on a much more meaningful level, by making everyone better.

    Which means he can turn a good player into a better player, and a great player into an all star, simply by understanding how they operate, then setting them up to do so.

    In addition, someone who is already a star, would recognize this rare type of talent and desire to come play with him, as they can reach super star status.

    And someone who is already a super star, though a bit aging, could add extra miles onto their career, just by having a point guard who understood where they are at present.

    No, Ball is the guy we need, not just another piece, but a piece which makes all the other pieces, shine.

    2+

  17. Ball =high upside, very low downside. (A swing for the fences)

    Jackson= mid upside, high downside. (Safer bet, but less reward)

    All comes down to what kind of gamblers the new FO are.

    It’s hard to see Jackson being a total bust like Ball can be.

    It’s harder to see Jackson as an All Star like Ball can be.

    Personally I go with JJ, we need an energerizer junkyard dog, way more than another chill dude.

    0

  18. I just watched the ESPN 30 for 30. The comments about how passing is infectious and upgrades the entire team while also exciting the fans hit home with me about LB. I will not be heart broken if we end up with JJ whom I like a lot, or even if we trade down, but I agree with Darius, LB is still the #1 for #2.

    2+

  19. LakeShowLarry June 13, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    it’s funny– when the lakers were in danger of losing the pick, i would’ve been happy with anyone. now that they have the pick, i’m nit-picking each prospect- lol
    time to breathe and just be happy we’re getting anyone at all and roll with it!

    3+

    • Lol Totally man!!!! Human Nature I guess……don’t worry—-to your point, whoever we end up with will be both a savior and a bust within this blog community before he even suits up!!!!! For we are a greedy and passionate lot…….

      We are lucky to even have the pick in reality. I was sick on lottery day but will be giddy on draft day. All prospect criticisms aside, I agree with your perspective.

      “ROLL WITH IT!!!”

      GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!

      PS: My bad. I have been calling Jonathan Isaac, “ISAACS”……Note to self: its ISAAC, like the LoveBoat Guy not ISAACS like that guy who sang all those depressing songs in the 90s.

      I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

      0

  20. Limited to having only seen Jackson through the lens of the DX movies, to my b.s. projection, he seems a smaller, more aware, less physically gifted Josh Smith as a ceiling. B.S. projection #2 would see Ball’s floor a pre-knee trajectory of Shaun Livingston. I’d prefer the number 2 pick go more towards aspiration as was Russell over Okafor. The gap between Ball and Jackson doesn’t look as vast but I surmise that there is still a large enough gap. As goofy as Ball’s shot looks, he seems very aware of his space to get it off. Jackson has a T-Rex peek-a-boo jumper with a slow, wind-up hitch to it. I don’t know if he’s getting that jumper off in similar space against a decent pro defender. From the clips I’d say Nance Jr is a more explosive leaper but Jackson looks like a more effective player already.

    I’m not seeing Jackson as a next-level torture chamber savant in these clips. Good hustle and good instincts. Above average and willing passer. Is he being compared to prior defense heavy prospects like Stanley Johnson, Justice Winslow, MKG? Thus far only MKG has moved the needle in that the Bobcats defense is better when he’s on the court but not demonstratively better. If I recall correctly, Oladipo was supposed to be a defensive monster in college and he hasn’t made a professional dent yet either. In this era, a team buy in to defense supplants a solitary good defender. A great individual defender blows up your schemes and warps your offense consistently. If JJ can play that level D, sign me up. If not, I’ll appreciate him as a player on whatever team he’s winds up on except for the given. (Lakers law 103, homeslice.)

    If the L’s do draft him, that’s a Randle (and probably Clarkson) ticket to another team with Ingram and Jackson floating 2 through 4 for that Warriors-style gun without the appropriate bullets. Nance as a 3.5 – 5, Deng 4-5 and a hole at your six and your point with only your 2-1 being your only competent shooter.

    I would like to see Jackson as a Laker but I’m seeing Ball as the better prospect and I dig him flipping the bird to the dirty Leprechauns. However, for the 1st time in awhile I’m feeling the captain of the ship can evaluate talent better than my beach scrub posterior. Just don’t pull a Caracter out of your draft pocket or Thabeet-it and I’m cool.

    4+

    • I had some Stanley Johnson thoughts watching JJ as well………Its funny how the FO makes such a big deal about wanting KOBE’s input on players and development etc. yet its not mentioned that Kobe was pretty sold on Stanley Johnson and sang his praises to the FO even urging them to draft him.

      He’s been as you described, a lackluster defensive heavy prospect who isn’t moving the needle.

      The Pre Knee Injury Livingston comparison is NOT a bad one for Ball IMO. If you recall, Pre Injury Shaun was had a HELL of an upside. He was on a path to perhaps being a special player before the horrendous knee fails.

      I would LOVE to see Ball pull a PUIG on those Celtic backing MASSHOLES in Crapachusetts!!!!!!

      1+

  21. EuropeanLaker June 14, 2017 at 6:40 am

    I don’t get why nobody is talking about work ethic.
    There have been just a few players in the last 25 years of the draft that have been good enough to be an All-Star in their rookie season (Shaq, Hill, Duncan, Yao, Blake Griffin; no Kobe, no Iverson, not even LeBron or D Rose). So it comes down to the development each player. In fact some of the best players in the history of the NBA have been very late picks: Kobe (No. 13), Dirk Nowitzki (No. 9), Curry (No. 7), Kawhi (No. 15).
    What all these players have in common: They are known for their work ethic, they are gym rats and they outperformed their position in the draft because of that. With Jordan Clarkson we have our very own Laker that outperformed his position in the draft and I’ve heard a lot about his work ethic and how he is putting up shots after games / late at night etc.

    So when no player is good enough right away so that we have to project how good they will become, why are there no reports / discussions about their work ethic, attitude towards basketball, coachability etc.

    I really like all the things that Darius wrote about Ball and Jackson, the podcasts and what has been said about them in the comments and I am very lucky that I am able to dig deep into data and be part of a discussion who to draft at No. 2, but I would be very happy to read something about their character and their work ethic.

    0

  22. Renato Afonso June 14, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Well, Darius is going to have a field day with this but… Maybe the Lakers should pick Ball. I don’t follow the NCAA like you guys do but I’ve been trying to watch as many games from Fultz, Lonzo and Jackson as possible (full games, not just the highlights) and I came to a conclusion:

    Jackson is obviously the safest bet in the draft as he is ready to guard NBA wings. The Lakers need individual and team defense more than anything and Jackson would be a great addition to Ingram. A starting lineup with Russell, Ingram and Jackson can be competent enough to vault the Lakers to an average defensive team in the NBA. If the Lakers pick based on team need (and there are plenty), Jackson is the only choice possible as it provides help on the team’s weakest field. However, Ball may be the best player in this year’s draft. Like it was said above, he is the high risk high reward type of player and maybe it is time to swing for the fences. He’s long and has a good basketball IQ and as long as he improves physically he can, at least, be a “neutral” defender.

    His shot form is a concern but the ball goes in, so his shot must be respected at all times. Furthermore, the “force him to drive to the right and he can’t pull up” thing is a bit overblown. I’ve seen tape of him pulling up while cutting inside from left court. Obviously, his form requires a greater separation from the defender but he is longer than most PG in the league and his form can be fixed.

    Fultz seems like every other PG in the league but he doesn’t have the IT factor you could see on others. He’s probably going to be a good player and without a doubt a starter but I just didn’t see any particular skillset that was elite. Maybe I’m wrong but from what I’ve seen (it took a while) the order is #1 Ball, #2 Jackson and #3 Fultz. Either way, any player they pick from those three is a good pick.

    Note: Regarding off court distractions, Jackson’s issues are far greater than Ball’s. There is no trouble surrounding Lonzo Ball except for his very vocal father who wants to promote his brand. Ball will most likely be a model professional and a good addition to any team. Jackson’s behaviour, if it all really happened as the media portrays, is terrible and as a father of a little girl this is something I cannot understand or forgive. If both players talent and potential ability was the same, this would be enough to give Ball the edge.

    1+

  23. Jackson reminds me a lot of a Corey Brewer. Maybe a higher ceiling, but similar traits.
    Not too thrilled about Ball either, for all of the issues that have been articulated before. Any chance we could swing the #2, the #28 and fillings for Paul George? By itself, it’s a meh move for both teams, but I do think we have an outside shot at getting LBJ with a team that offers PG, Russell, Ingram, Zubac, Nance, Black, Clarkson. I mean, that gives him the best shot at competing with the Warriors, doesn’t it?
    C – Zubac/Black/Mozgov
    PF – LBJ/Randle/Nance
    SF – Ingram/Brewer/Deng
    SG – PG/Clarkson
    PG – Russell/Free agent

    Isn’t that a team that can give the Warriors a much stronger challenge than the Cavs?

    Now, think about using Randle with Deng/Mozgov’s contracts to get another veteran or two…

    0

  24. I don’t think the Josh Jackson and Stanley Johnson comparisons really make a lot of sense. Stanley Johnson was a physical speciman who had a grown man body in the NCAA. Jackson is a much more gifted lateral moving and fluid athlete who moves his feet well.

    While I wasn’t a big fan initially, I’ve come on board the Lonzo train. While I like Jackson a lot, his fit for the Lakers just isn’t great. If we did not have Ingram, I think Jackson would make more sense. Lonzo seemingly fits better on the current roster and I can see him and D’Angelo both taking turns as lead guards as they can both be threats by spotting up and passing. There is an argument to be made that fit shouldn’t matter, and I agree to some extent, but at some point the Lakers need to start developing a tangible team. If Jackson was overwhelmingly? better than Ball, then I agree that you take Jackson. I don’t think that’s the case though.

    0