Michael Swain | @mswain97
If Josh Jackson were to be drafted No. 4 overall by the Phoenix Suns, we would be looking at a resurrection of one of the most successful franchises in the NBA.
The Suns are in need of a small forward like Jackson who can play the three and can someday play small-ball four as he develops.
As of the last day of the NBA season, Phoenix only had one SF with over one year of NBA experience — T.J. Warren, a third-year guy from NC State. The other small forward is a rookie from UNLV, Derrick Jones Jr.
Phoenix holds the best young shooting guard in Devin Booker, a guy who averaged 22.1 points a game this past year, even though he was out of position at small forward most of the year. Drafting Jackson at No. 4 would be a perfect match and it would allow Booker to play his natural shooting guard position, as well as allow him to play off the ball and utilize Jackson’s passing ability.
Booker is an explosive scorer with a lot of dog in him. He has been known to talk ample amounts of trash, even saying, “I don’t start it [talking trash] but I finish it.” Jackson is very similar to Booker as both love to compete and Jackson has even stepped up to talking trash to NBA greats like Gary Payton.
I believe Jackson and Booker have the possibility of forming a duo like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami. If only Wade could shoot as prolifically as Booker, who has already dropped 70+ points in a game.
Yes, I just compared Jackson’s potential to that of James'. At his highest ceiling, Jackson could be just like LeBron. Jackson will never be LeBron but I see him being a notch just below that of the King.
The Celtics are a horrible fit for Jackson — they spent last year’s No. 3 overall pick on Jaylen Brown, a small forward from Cal. Not to mention the Celtics are the top candidate to land an All-Star small forward in Gordon Hayward if he chooses to leave Utah.
You also can’t forget Boston’s openness to trade next year’s pick to Chicago or Indiana for Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
But who are we kidding, the Celtics are drafting Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall — regardless of what ESPN is reporting.
DeAsia Paige | @deasia_paige
With the NBA Draft just days away, there still remains uncertainty for the best pick for each team.
Although it is assumed that the Boston Celtics will pick Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, it has been reported that the Celtics are keeping their eyes on another freshman phenom, former Jayhawk Josh Jackson.
According to Chad Ford of ESPN, the Celtics seem to be very fond of Jackson and are exploring their options beyond picking the favorited Fultz at No. 1. Ford even spoke with a general manager who claimed that Jackson is the type of player that best suits president and general manager Danny Ainge's draft-picking style.
However, Jackson recently canceled a workout with the Celtics and seems to be more interested in playing for the Los Angeles Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers (where he could potentially play with former Jawhawk Joel Embiid).
The idea of Jackson being the No. 1 overall pick isn't far-fetched at all, especially considering the Celtics' needs.
The Celtics need a player who can heavily contribute to offense and control the floor whose name is not Isaiah Thomas. Averaging 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and three assists while playing for Kansas, Jackson has proved he can do just that.
He's also athletic and very versatile, which is another need of the Celtics. They need a forward whose length and size contributes to their versatility instead of hindering it. In a league that is small-ball dominant, it's crucial that big men are versatile and are able to shoot outside of the paint.
Although the Celtics have Jae Crowder and rookie Jaylen Brown (who was impressive during the postseason), they've contributed more on defense than offense.
If the Celtics had a player like Jackson, who can easily contribute on both ends of the floor and capable of controlling the offense, during the Eastern Conference Finals, they probably would've had a better chance to compete against the Cleveland Cavaliers in more than just one game.
However, the Celtics' problem was blatantly exposed when Thomas got injured. They rely too much on Thomas to create plays and run the offense that they don't know what to do without him. Jackson has that type of persistence and will to carry a team, a spirit that ignited the hearts of Jayhawk fans in Allen Fieldhouse for every game.
Josh Jackson feels he brings something to the table that other NBA draft prospects don't. pic.twitter.com/tNfQFPCHbs— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) June 14, 2017
However, Jackson has some work to do. He needs to work on his three-point shooting; he's shooting about 38 percent from deep. That really needs to change if Jackson wants to be able to compete with other big men in the NBA.
But, considering the growth of the rookie Brown, there is no doubt that Jackson will be able to grow into his potential under the impeccable tutelage of coach Brad Stevens.