NBA scouts compare Josh Jackson to Grant Hill, Jimmy Butler
One week from the NBA Draft, most scouts and front office personnel have their minds made up about draft entrants.
There’s still workouts underway, giving prospects a last-minute chance to solidify opinions or change minds, but NBA teams are beginning to set their draft boards.
College basketball analyst Seth Davis annually compiles the thoughts of five scouts into one profile for many of the top players in the draft — including Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III — allowing people to understand how prospects are widely seen across the league.
The 6-foot-8 Jackson, a likely top-three pick, drew comparisons to other high-scoring wings and versatile defenders.
His profile, via Seth Davis:
“He’s my favorite player in this draft. As gifted a scorer as he is, I think he has a lot of untapped potential in that area. The off-court stuff is definitely a concern. You’re talking about two incidents in one year. Is that going to be a lingering issue? You don’t have to run plays for him. I think one day he could be a Jimmy Butler type guy. He has shooting deficiencies, but they went in at Kansas. I don’t know how they went in, but they did. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. If he’s able to shoot, he’ll be a Grant Hill or an (Andre) Iguodala. If he doesn’t, he’ll be like Corey Brewer, which is still pretty good.”
Even without picture-perfect shooting mechanics, Jackson, a third-team All-American, averaged 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds on 51 percent shooting in his lone season at Kansas. He led the Jayhawks with 59 steals and 37 blocks.
In comparison to some of the players mentioned by scouts, Butler averaged 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds on 49 percent shooting in his junior season at Marquette. Iguodala, in his sophomore season at Arizona, had 12.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on 45 percent shooting.
With a range from Hill, a seven-time NBA All-Star, to Brewer, who just completed his 10th year in the league, it's apparent that scouts believe Jackson is one of the safest picks in the draft.
Mason, the consensus national player of the year, was the first player in Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists per game. He shot 47 percent from the 3-point line and averaged 4.2 rebounds.
“I’m not in love with him, but ooh, he is tough. He’s a killer. He’s a kid everybody’s rooting for but no one is willing to commit to. Worked hard to become a reliable shooter and can shoot off the bounce. I wonder whether he can be an NBA level distributor and see the floor the way he needs to at his size. I’m not sure he’s dynamic enough to be a point guard in the NBA. I don’t like his ability to finish around the rim. He doesn’t pass off the dribble, but in transition he’s good. If Fred VanVleet can make a roster, why can’t he?”
VanVleet, the former Wichita State standout, played in 37 games with the Toronto Raptors during his rookie season. Mason is projected as the 46th pick by Draft Express in its latest mock draft.
Both Jackson and Mason recently completed workouts with teams. Jackson met twice with the Los Angeles Lakers, who own the No. 2 pick, and canceled a visit with the Boston Celtics.
Mason worked out with the Sacramento Kings, his second time visiting with them.
The NBA Draft begins at 6 p.m. on June 22.