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The NBA Draft brings new hope and anticipation for teams, especially the team’s locked into a lottery pick. Its been some time since we’ve had a plethora of big men at the head of the field.
In the 2018 draft, the top ten picks will be filled with players of the bigger variety. Let’s take a look at the new aged power forward and centers that will invade the NBA.
Michigan State Spartan’s forward Jaren Jackson Jr. definitely has NBA written in his DNA. His father Jaren Sr. played sparingly for parts of twelve seasons in the NBA. He played more than half of his career games with the San Antonio Spurs winning a title in 1999.
The 6’11”, 242 pound 18-year old is a legitimate rim protector averaging 3.0 blocks per game. He’s long with a 7’4″ wingspan and can defend a large portions of the floor with his quickness.
Even though the NBA has moved to a spread out kind of league, the better scorers still drive to the basket and try to draw fouls. Jackson will contest every shot that comes his way.
In a game versus the Indiana Hoosiers, Michigan State gave up only 19 field goals (out of 66 attempts). Jackson blocked seven shots clogging the lane against post players and would be slashers alike. Hoosiers’ forward Juwan Morgan came into the game averaging 16.5 points per game on 57.9% shooting to lead Indiana. He was rendered useless with two points, with his shot sent back by Jackson on three occasions.
He will be a coaches dream on pick-and-roll defense, being able to switch to smaller offensive players and not get blown away by their speed. Teams that try and stretch the floor with their bigs won’t find it easy to drive past Jackson and get a clean shot off. He’s that long.
When Michigan State went up against the power house Duke Blue Devils during the season, it was supposed to be a ferocious battle of big men. Duke’s tandem of Marvin Bagley III and Wendel Carter Jr. knew they had their work cut out for them vs. Jackson. Bagley would leave the game with an eye injury after playing ten minutes. The task was left to Carter who finished 3-9 from the field with 12 points. Jackson swatted shots from both big men finishing with three blocks total.
Offensively he’s not as polished but has good skills. Against Duke, Jackson finished 7-10 from the field with 19 points including 3-5 from downtown. He shows a good stroke from behind the arc and he doesn’t take unnecessary shots. He shot .39% from three-point range on 96 attempts this season and is a legitimate threat. His midrange jumper is not as strong. He’s either close to the basket or setting up for a three-pointer.
The biggest improvement he will have to make is rebounding, while averaging a dreadful 5.8 per game. He is caught out of position sometimes going after blocks. He will also need to gain a bit more muscle for better positioning. At the pro level, it will take a stronger effort and more concentration from Jackson to improve his rebounding.
Most mock drafts have Jackson getting drafted within the top five picks as the third “Big” taken off the board. He should be a good defender in the NBA ranks right away. An ideal situation for him would be a team with an established scorer and rebounder at the power forward or center position. He should be praised in any situation he ends up in for his versatility, especially on the defensive side.