For Jackson Jr., the pre-draft process has been important because of how he was deployed at Michigan State, where he was often played either out of position or had his minutes limited. In any case, his abilities as a rim protector and the flashes of offensive brilliance with a strong jump shot (40 percent shooter from three-point range in college) and ball-handling ability, he’s a tantalizing prospect that many consider one of the safest picks at the top of this draft.
The question with Jackson is exactly what the top end of his potential is, and that will likely determine where he’s selected. Part of the question with Jackson has been if he “wants it” enough, given that at times during his year at Michigan State he appeared a bit passive and didn’t always dominate the way he was physically capable of. However, Jackson is answering those questions by setting his sights plenty high for who he hopes to ultimately be compared to, telling reporters after his workout with Phoenix that Anthony Davis was who he hopes to be like at the NBA level.
Considering Davis was a nearly unanimous selection to the All-NBA first team this past season and put forth one of the most ridiculous individual seasons from a big man that we’ve seen in recent years, that’s quite the high bar to set for Jackson Jr. That said, there’s also not a big man in the NBA you’d want your young, wildly talented but still a bit raw on offense big to model his game after than Davis.
Davis has steadily added more offensive weapons to his arsenal over the years and has fine-tuned his defensive game to be more than just a shot blocker, to where he’s now just one of the most versatile defenders in the league. If Jackson can even come close to that level, whatever team that ends up drafting him will be thrilled.