This pick is all about the upside that Jackson possesses.
The freshman out of Michigan State is a tantalizing prospect brimming with untapped potential and can develop into an incredible two-way player for the Grizzlies. In his lone season in East Lansing, Jackson averaged 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3 blocks in only 22 minutes per game for the Spartans. He is also an impressive defensive player as well, despite being somewhat raw and foul-prone at times. Standing at nearly 7 feet tall with a 7’5 wingspan, Jackson is big enough to be a rim-protector while also being quick enough on his feet to switch onto quicker players on the perimeter.
Whereas Jackson may not have been a dominant big man in college like Deandre Ayton, Jackson does possess superior range to the Arizona product. Jackson shot 39% from downtown this past season and is also a very good free throw shooter to boot. He is also capable of playing at the 4, so Grizzlies fans shouldn’t be overly concerned about his fit next to Marc Gasol.
Selecting Jackson is perhaps a hint that Memphis is looking more towards the future from here. While more than capable of contributing as a rookie, Jackson is just 18 years old and won’t hit his prime for more than a few years. Either way, Jackson is a talented young man who could become a two-way force for Memphis for many seasons to come.
Welcome to Memphis, Jaren.