Josh Jackson ranks high in freshman record books, NBA draft projections
Josh Jackson played in 35 of Kansas’ 36 games and worked his way into the freshman record book in various places.
Jackson ranks third in points (572) behind Andrew Wiggins (597) and Ben McLemore (589) and second in scoring average (16.3) behind Wiggins (17.1).
Jackson tied Danny Manning for the all-time rebounding lead with 258, good for fifth in rebounding average (7.4) behind Joel Embiid (8.1), Manning (7.6), Drew Gooden (7.5) and Raef LaFrentz (7.5).
Jackson’s 37 blocks tie him for sixth with Cliff Alexander, well shy of Embiid’s freshman record of 72.
Had Jackson not been suspended, there’s a good chance he would have finished as the leading freshman scorer and rebounder in Kansas history. Jackson might have been the difference for KU against TCU in the first round of the Big 12 tournament, which would have earned him and the team a spot in the semifinals. In that scenario, Jackson would have needed 26 points in the two extra games to surpass Wiggins.
On the brink of a long NBA career, Jackson isn’t likely to spend much time thinking about that lost opportunity.
Draftexpress.com projects Jackson as the third selection in the June NBA draft, behind freshman point guards Markelle Fultz of Washington and Lonzo Ball from UCLA.
The NBA rookie salary scale for 2017-18 mandates that the third selection of the first round earns $4,090,900 as a rookie and $4,275,000 in his second season.
The first pick gets $5,091,500 the first season, $5,320,600 the second.
The first-year salary doesn’t drop below $3 million until the seventh pick. Jackson has a better chance of going first than seventh.
Since the worst teams pick first, chances are good those teams lack every-possession intensity and attention to detail that are part of all winning cultures. Jackson brings those qualities, which makes him a nice first piece in changing a team’s losing culture.
The weighted NBA draft lottery that determines the order in which teams select is set for May 16 and the draft is June 22.
The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and possibly the Chicago Bulls will have ping pong balls in the lottery, which gives Jackson a good shot at landing in one of the nation’s three largest markets, where his charisma would make his earning potential explode.
Jackson’s hometown Detroit Pistons, Joel Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers, and the Minnesota Timberwolves of Wiggins, Cole Aldrich and Brandon Rush also are lottery-bound.
In one sense, the luckiest draft prospect will go to the Boston Celtics, who have the second-best record in the East and have the right to swap picks with the lowly Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics' pick won't have to wait for a team to develop to enjoy NBA playoff basketball.