It feels like the draft is a lost cause for the Pistons is 2018. They traded their 1st round pick to acquire Blake Griffin mid-season and even if they did have that pick they don’t currently have a GM to make the selection after parting ways with Stan Van Gundy. However, Detroit still holds the 42nd pick in this year’s draft and will have the opportunity to draft a player who can potentially make an impact coming off the bench.
One name that has stood out to me is Justin Jackson, small forward out of Maryland. Although he had a very disappointing sophomore season last year due to a shoulder injury, he showed a lot of good things in his freshman season. In all, he averaged 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in his two-year career while shooting 38% from three. This seems like the perfect type of prospect the Pistons can buy low on and get a good value in the 2nd round.
— Bovada Official (@BovadaLV) March 16, 2017
Jackson may be young, but he’s a quality athlete. He’s got good height at 6’7 and great length with a 7’2 wingspan to go with a solid 225-pound frame. He made his name in college for being a good 3-point shooter who rebounds as if he was a power forward. Jackson’s length and mobility also means he has the tools to make a good perimeter defender. Offensively he is known for his ability to catch and shoot from deep, but also has nice touch inside due to his length and experience down low.
With that being said, Jackson certainly has his limitations. He is a not a shot creator offensively and will rely on teammates finding him in the right position and hustle points to make up most of his scoring. It’s also worth mentioning that the shoulder injury that limited him to just 10 games last year is a red flag going into his NBA career. He may not be ready to go following labrum surgery. He may not even see NBA action in 2018 as he looks to get back to the form he had as a freshman.
— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) May 12, 2017
For the Pistons, Jackson projects as a classic “3 and D” small forward off the bench. He can guard multiple positions on the wing, including stretch power forwards, and has a quick release for the catch and shoot. Even if his injury does prevent him from seeing significant playing time this year, he could fill Reggie Bullock’s role if Detroit loses him in free agency in 2019.
As of now, Jackson is projected to go mid to late second round by most every draft analyst. It probably would have been wise for him to return to school for one more year to answer some of the questions surrounding his shoulder injury and prove he can be a go-to scorer. However, the talent certainly sees to be there and he seems very capable of being a nice piece in the NBA. If the Pistons are willing to take a chance on him, Jackson could prove to be valuable to whatever staff is leading this team in the foreseeable future.
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