Former Jayhawk Josh Jackson projects as more than just KU's latest Top 5 pick
Those familiar with basketball, at just about any level, know that there typically are five positions on the floor – point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center.
There are, of course, variations of each position — point forward and stretch 4 are two of the better examples — and not every team uses all five positions all the time.
While that tends to be important when coaches are putting together rosters and formulating game plans, it seems to have less importance at the highest level of basketball, where players are picked and pursued based on potential and production.
“In the NBA, they think play-makers more than positions,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla told the Journal-World, noting that Jackson’s attacking mentality and versatility made him a dream prospect for any team.
There are still, of course, guards, forwards and centers throughout the league, but Fraschilla said NBA talent evaluators often tag young players with different descriptions, especially ahead of the draft.
“All-Star, starter, rotation guy, fringe guy,” Fraschilla explained.
Jackson’s potential to fit into the first two slots — perhaps immediately — is just one of the many reasons Fraschilla believes KU's freshman All-American is so highly coveted and sits on the brink of a long pro career.
“If I were doing a mock draft, he would be in my Top 3,” Fraschilla said, echoing what several draft and pro basketball analysts believe will be the case in the June Draft.
But the reason for Fraschilla’s appreciation of where Jackson fits into the NBA game go beyond his 6-foot-8 frame, elite athleticism, intense motor and individual skills.
“You know right away if you need a small forward, you’re plugging in a 10 year starter,” Fraschilla said of Jackson. “I don’t know how many times he’ll be an all-star, there aren’t many all-stars. But everything he’s done on the court to this point is a complete positive for him. Teams already know he’s an alpha dog.”
And regardless of where he's drafted, the Detroit native only figures to carry that mentality with him while building on it at the highest level.