If you haven’t heard of Reggie Jackson, you will soon. The junior point guard out of Boston College is the kind of player that would experience a late rise in any draft due to his intriguing athleticism, potential and relatively unheralded, late-blooming college career.
Right now, Jackson is all over on mock draft boards—from mid-late first round to mid second round—but I expect that he’ll be a lottery pick on draft night. Fans and scouts alike will become more familiar with Jackson as the combine and workouts are completed (click here for highlights).
In his junior year, Jackson took a major step forward. Averaging 18.2 PPG, 4.5 APG and 4.3 RPG on 50 percent field-goal shooting, 42 percent three-point shooting and 79.6 percent shooting from the free-throw line, the 6'3" guard was named to the All-ACC first team. His scoring increased from 12.9 PPG, and his shooting improved considerably from 43 percent from the field and 29 percent from three.
He also took over as the team’s indisputable leader and was the focal point of every opposing team’s defensive strategy but was still very hard to contain.
He has many of the traits necessary to succeed in the NBA at the point guard position: He’s big and strong, can finish creatively around the basket, is an improving shooter, can defend both guard positions, is willing to make plays for teammates and is still capable of scoring himself.
In some ways Jackson reminds me of Russell Westbrook with his incredible length, superior athleticism, competitiveness/intensity and playmaking ability. Obviously Westbrook is a world-class athlete and a superstar in the league, but watching Jackson it is easy to see similarities, and I expect impressive combine results from him.
The Colorado Springs native is incredibly competitive and can really be a tenacious defender when he wants to be. He’s a good playmaker but also a capable scorer, which has become increasingly important from the point guard position in the contemporary NBA. He’ll also go up high for rebounds in traffic. Jackson’s not afraid to attack the basket strong and loves dunking on (and in some cases over) people.
His shooting has been the most notable improvement from his sophomore year—his release is quicker, he has better balance and he no longer has a drastic “sidewinding” shot.
I’ve liked Jackson as a college player for a while, but I didn’t expect him to become such a great prospect. He has been completely committed to transitioning from a combo guard to a fully serviceable lead guard. I’m glad that he’s improved his game significantly every year, wasn’t simply satisfied with being more athletic than everyone he played against and became more skilled.
On the court he has also made important strides mentally. He has matured and has a more controlled game with better decision-making. Growing up in a military family not far from the Air Force Academy likely bodes well for the level of discipline, professionalism and work ethic an NBA franchise can expect from Jackson as well.
We will find out on June 23rd where Jackson lands, but by then I think a lottery selection won’t be as surprising as it sounds now. We’ll hear a lot more about him as the draft draws closer.