(First posted RealGM)
Jackson is almost a contrast of the top two players on the board: quicker and possessing a more polished skill-set on offense but without the same upside on defense.
The 21 year-old (he’ll be 22 by the time the season starts) played in a pretty good offense at Notre Dame – one that spaced the court adequately, functioned with nice pace, made him give up the ball to move the defense from side-to-side before he got it back and put him in the pick-and-roll constantly (although, except for when the opponent went zone).
Jackson showed some excellence working his way around ball-screens – exhibiting an explosive first step to turn the corner, great quickness to stop-and-start in a pinch, the ability to go side-to-side to snake the pick-and-roll and a nifty hesitation move to split the double. He can attack length at the rim with power and the strength (194-pound frame in the context of six-foot-two height) to absorb contact and still finish – converting 61.7% of his 149 shots at the rim last season, via hoop-math.
Complementing his interior scoring, Jackson is also a threat to score from range. He’s a very good shooter, both off the dribble and off the catch – showcasing compact mechanics, a quick release and great elevation off the ground (which he needs for a comfortable shot against a contest due to his six-foot-two height). Jackson nailed 38.1% of his 349 three-point shots in his three years at Notre Dame – at a pace of 4.3 three-point attempts per 40 minutes, and converted 40.5% of his 116 mid-range jumpers last season.
Jackson isn’t as prolific generating offense for others, though. He is not particularly averse to passing but his height limits his court vision in traffic. He can make pocket passes adequately and has some feel for lobbying the ball to his center diving to the basket but isn’t as good at hitting weak-side shooters spot up at the opposite corner or wing as Baldwin and Dunn. His 25% assist-rate last season is sort of unimpressive when you consider Jerian Grant was no longer on the team and Jackson was Notre Dame’s go-to option to create something late in the shot clock when the offense stagnated. Though at least he doesn’t turn the ball over at the problematic rate Baldwin and Dunn do.
Jackson has strength (194-pound frame), length (six-foot-five wingspan) and lateral quickness to be expected to develop into an average defender of opposing point guards. He is unlikely to provide optionality, though, lacking the length needed to spend time guarding wings with regularity and shouldn’t be any sort of option to pick up big men on switches either. Jackson also hasn’t displayed any special knack for generating turnovers or contributing on the defensive glass.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara