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Grizzlies Free Agency Profiles: Josh Jackson

The 2019-20 NBA Season was a bounce back season for Josh Jackson, but will his next contract come in Memphis?

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Josh Jackson - Guard/Forward - Kansas

22 years old, 6’8”, 207 pounds

Draft: Phoenix Suns 1st round (4th pick, 4th overall) 2017 NBA Draft

NBA Experience: Three seasons (Two with Phoenix, and one with Memphis)

Career Stats: 178 Games played, 11.9 ppg in 24.3 minutes per game, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 ast, 41.7 field goal percentage, 29.8 three point percentage, 65.5 free throw percentage, 45.7 effective field goal percentage, 11.5 PER, -1.8 win shares per 48 minutes.

2019-2020 Highlights:

Coming into the 2019-20 season, Josh Jackson’s story was one of the more crazy ones discussed around the league. A former top five pick, then traded, and given one last opportunity in Memphis, but not with the Grizzlies but their G-League team - the Memphis Hustle.

While the Suns gave up on Jackson’s progression on and off the court, the Grizzlies new front office provided a direction for Josh this past season. Jackson talked about his last season in Phoenix, “I had a lot of crazy turnovers and shots because I was rushing and going fast. I was eager to make things happen.” When we rush to make things happen in life, or on the basketball court, we tend to lose direction, and the Grizzlies let Jackson take his time in Southaven with the Hustle before he arrived again in the NBA.

Jackson played nearly three months for the Hustle before getting recalled by the Memphis Grizzlies, where he played a controlled game of basketball once again. Appearing in 22 of the 26 games he was active in, Jackson showed that there is a place for his game in the NBA again. The question still remains, what is Jackson’s value as of now, and should Memphis bring him back next season?

Numbers that make Jackson

Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
  1. 17.3. While Josh Jackson’s points per game fell from 11.5 in year two, to 9.0 in year three, Jackson played significantly less minutes this past season. In year two, where Jackson averaged the 11.5 ppg, he played 25.2 minutes a game, but this past season, Josh only averaged 17.3 minutes a game.
  2. 2.5. During the 2019-20 season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Jackson was a +2.5 net rating in his 22 games with the Grizzlies this season. In home games? Josh was a +8.6

Numbers that may mean Jackson is gone

  1. 5. When the Memphis Grizzlies returned to action back on July 31st in the Orlando Bubble, Jackson was a DNP in five of those games. This brings us to a question - where does Jackson fit in a normal rotation with the Grizzlies? Memphis primarily ran 10 to 11 man rotations, but Josh, at times wasn’t apart of those rotations, which isn’t good for Jackson’s fit in Memphis.
  2. 31.9. The 2019-20 season was a solid recovery season for Jackson, but this statistic isn’t anything to be proud of. For Jackson, his three point percentage this past season was 31.9 percent, in which he averaged 3.3 attempts from deep a game (2.9 average for his career). Lack of three point shooting off the bench might not only effect Jackson, but free agent De’Anthony Melton as well as Joe Mullinax wrote about here.

Pulse of Grizz Nation:

Currently, Grizzlies fans seem to have a mixed opinion on bringing Jackson back for another season in Beale Street Blue, and that’s understandable. Many thought that Jackson would be used around the trade deadline last season to move Andre Iguadola, among others to setup the Grizzlies even better. So, if Jackson doesn’t return to the Grizzlies, many wouldn’t be too shocked. The hope around Jackson becoming a consistent wing off the bench is the air around Jackson’s future in the NBA.

In terms of a dollar amount? It’ll most likely be a one year deal, as Josh will need to prove his worth for a full season on the NBA stage.

The Final Offer?

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Jackson is in a unique situation, as this will be a weak free agency class, which helps his stock go up.. but not a lot. A one year 1.65 million dollar contract (minimum contract) makes sense for the Grizzlies, whom have not steered Josh wrong to prove for a season he is worth more on another roster. All the while, Memphis keeps their books open for 2021 free agency. That may not be enough to keep him - but it is what the Grizzlies should offer with all that occurred during this unique season.

Make no mistake about it, Jackson is still in career saving mode, so another year of working on being consistent both off the court, and on the court will be huge. It doesn’t seem like Josh should have a pile of offers, but he will have options with that one year minimum dollar deal for another year of proving his worth on an NBA roster. Providing stability, being a guy that can come off the bench and provide a spark offensively will be huge for Josh next season. Depending on how deep the Grizzlies bench unit is, it might not be an option in Memphis.

The unknown sits in front of Jackson’s NBA future, but his next deal will be the biggest move of his career for longevity sake.

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