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What to make of Josh Jackson canceling pre-draft workout with Boston

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Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) comes away with a  rebound during the first half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) comes away with a rebound during the first half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York. by Nick Krug

While the two best teams in the NBA clashed in The Finals Monday night, news of one top incoming rookie canceling a pre-draft workout with a preeminent franchise sneaked out.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman came through with the surprising scoop: One-and-done Kansas wing Josh Jackson scrapped a workout with the Boston Celtics, who own the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s NBA Draft.

This past Thursday, Jackson met with and played in front of the Los Angeles Lakers, who will pick No. 2. So why would he decide against displaying his skills for the Celtics?

It’s not as if Jackson is in Lonzo Ball’s overpriced Big Baller Brand shoes, with his father appearing on every sports-based argument show that will have him, claiming the Lakers are the best fit.

Jackson is fierce on the court, and you know he would take great pride in being selected first overall. So obviously there are other factors at play.

Perhaps Jackson’s management has advised him against a session with Boston because Washington’s Markelle Fultz has emerged as a lock for the No. 1 spot. Or maybe, as many have speculated since Goodman reported the cancellation, a team (conceivably the Lakers) already has made a promise to Jackson that it will draft him.

Who knows? The only conclusion we can really draw from this is there’s little chance of Jackson ending up with the Celtics, unless the team trades down in the draft, with Jackson becoming a piece of a more enticing collection of assets than Fultz alone.

Now it seems — barring some as of yet unforeseen trade, of course — Jackson is bound for either the Lakers at No. 2 or Philadelphia at No. 3. Neither would be a bad place to start for the 20-year-old talent from Detroit. Both the Lakers and Sixers have struggled the past few years. But the NBA’s structure sets such organizations up with high lottery odds, enabling them to stockpile young, talented players.

As a Laker or Sixer, Jackson would join a core built for the future, and that’s certainly not a bad thing, considering Golden State and Cleveland seem bound to meet in The Finals as long as LeBron James plays for the Cavaliers and Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are Warriors.

Maybe three years from now, LeBron finally shows some rust, just as the Sixers are on the come up with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jackson leading the way.

Or, possibly, the Lakers really do prefer Jackson to Ball, L.A. gets Paul George next year and the purple and gold are back to their yearly playoff runs sooner than everybody thought.

Either way, Jackson will be just fine — even if he doesn’t get to join a Celtics organization much closer to contending for a title.

Comments

Phil Leister 6 months ago

I'm torn. I desperately want the Lakers to stick it to Lavar Ball and not draft Lonzo. On the other hand, I'd love to see JJ and JoJo on the Sixers together.

Suzi Marshall 6 months ago

EXACTLY my thoughts as well!!!

Maybe the Lakers could draft Josh, then trade him to Philly! Most Jayhawks fans would immediately become huge 76er and NBA fans if Jackson ended up with Philly. Add Mason to that Philly team with Embiid/Jackson, I'll make a few trips to Philly to catch several games!!

Gavin Fritton 5 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree with both of you completely. I obviously want what's best for Josh, but I can't help but wish that the Lakers would draft him just to shut up LaVar Ball. Suzi has a great hope, even if it has a lot of moving parts: Lakers draft him, trade him to Philly and then somehow Lonzo winds up in some hellhole like Sacramento.

Ryan Zimmerman 6 months ago

Plus, a chance Mason could go to 76ers late, also. How amazing would that be?

Josh Galler 6 months ago

I heard Sac and 76ers are looking for a trade and they trade Bmac to them

Brian D. Steward 6 months ago

I don't see JJ with the 76ers. They have a "do-it-all" forward in Ben Simmons and they have the Power Forward covered in Dario Saric along side the Center in JoJo. They need offense and could easily take Monk, Tatum, or even someone like Fox for the offensive end. As much as I would love to see JJ go there I don't know that, that will happen. If Hinkey were still in charge and JJ slipped to 3 I would say absolutely but this new management in Philly seems to want to start winning and getting talent that is ready now.

Tracey Graham 6 months ago

From everything I've read, the Celtics seem set on taking Fultz if they don't trade the pick.Which is interesting, because what do they do with Isaiah Thomas, then? He can't play SG, he's too small. Unless they have him play SG on offense and PG on defense.

The Lakers, meanwhile, don't seem locked in on Ball. They've seen 2 of Josh's workouts, they brought in Fox, they brought in Fuktz and I just read that they want to bring Fultz (along with Ball) back for a 2nd workout.

On the Frank Mason III front, the Kings just brought him back in for a 2nd workout.

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