Josh Jackson’s game is so nasty you need parental guidance if you’re 13 and younger…
Well not exactly, but midway through his rookie year Jackson looks eerily similar to a rookie Paul George.
Size and Length:
Josh Jackson: 6′ 8″ with a 7′ wingspan
Paul George: 6′ 9″ with a 7′ wingspan
George(220 lbs) is slightly heavier than Jackson(205 lbs) but both players have elite size and length as wings. Jackson undoubtedly fits the mold from a physical perspective and we’ve seen the importance of wing play in matching up with players like George, LeBron, Durant, Giannis, and Kawhi.
Defense and Activity:
Paul George is one of the best wing defenders in the game. His athleticism, length, and defensive IQ have propelled OKC to a top 5 defensive rating. Also he’s fantastic at disrupting passes and bothering ball-handlers as he leads the league in steals per game.
Josh Jackson is quick in passing lanes and he’s a deceptively good shot-blocker– he’s actually over a block per game in his last 10 appearances. Coming out of college he was projected to be a lockdown defender, and so far he’s given us no reason to think otherwise.
Watch a rookie Paul George and Josh Jackson take steals the length of the court. Jackson was a monster in transition at Kansas and that skill translated as he’s already pretty hard to stop on the fast break in the NBA.
Jackson reminds me of Paul George the way he looks for seams along the baseline and crashes the offensive glass. If you don’t box out you will pay.
Handle & Slashing ability:
Both George and Jackson can handle the ball like guards…
Paul George wasn’t the primary scorer as a rookie–google Danny Granger if you don’t know. Jackson isn’t the primary scorer in Phoenix–see Devin Booker.
Still, Jackson has shown flashes of ability to be a number one option or an extremely dangerous secondary option like George in OKC. Josh does have a couple of polished step-back moves which he will likely continue to develop and perfect.
Jackson can finish with either hand, and he has a prolific package of floaters going to his right and left. He plays a bit out of control at times but as he gets older and stronger he will definitely get better at picking his spots.
The biggest knock on Josh Jackson right now is his shaky jump shot. He has a low release point and seems to struggle getting his shot off from certain spots on the floor. His three pointer has been especially underwhelming as he’s only hitting 26% from deep.
As a rookie, Paul George shot 45% from the field but he hit only 29% of his threes. His shot mechanics looked good though and he had streaks where he would get hot from deep. George has become a sharpshooter this year shooting a career-best 43% from deep getting the cleanest looks he’s had his whole career.
If Jackson can follow George’s career-arc and hit 35-40% from deep he will be tough to stop.
Phoenix right now has the second-worst record in the league and they have a ways to go before they sniff the postseason. Jackson plays for the Suns so his dysfunctions are directly correlated to the dysfunctions in Phoenix. He is often forced to take bad shots which may drag down his percentages artificially.
That being said, Josh Jackson is still only a rookie and at 21-years-old he is far from a finished product. He has scored in double digits 10 of his last 12 games and the more comfortable he gets the more he shows. Jackson shot 38% from 3 in college so there’s no reason to think he won’t get better from deep.
George was lucky enough to play on a very good Indiana team, and his touches came more within the offense. As the Suns improve Jackson should continue to pattern his game around Paul George if he wants to take the next step in his development!
Check out full Youtube clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVWXic1c7yI&t=1