Josh Jackson NBA Draft Profile

Josh Jackson lived up to his high recruiting profile and then some while at Kansas. He was named a member of the First Team All-Big 12 and earned Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Jackson is a dynamic athlete with two-way star potential. Standing 6-8 with a 6-10 wingspan, he has the size and quickness to realistically defend four positions. Jackson is still relatively unpolished in quite a few areas of his game, but if he puts it all together he can be a superstar in the NBA.

Where Jackson will have scouts most excited is with his versatility on the defensive end. Kansas mostly used Jackson as a stretch power forward, using his athleticism to create mismatches on both ends of the floor. He has the lateral quickness and motor to lockdown the perimeter. He gets into a stance and takes pride in preventing his man from getting past him, but his technique does need some polish. He uses his length to disrupt passing lanes, averaging 1.7 steals per game. He had solid numbers across the board, also grabbing 7.4 rebounds and notching 1.1 blocks per game. Jackson does have a relatively slim frame for his size at just 205 lbs. He’ll need to add strength to be able to consistently check bigger NBA forwards. He does still lack discipline at this stage. He gets lost and ball watches too often while playing off-ball defense. He can also struggle in transition defense, regularly giving up open shots as he just runs back looking for blocks instead of matching up with a man.

Offensively, Jackson is mostly a mixed bag right now, but he’s oozing with upside. Jackson has impressive stats in just about every category and shows flashes in all stages of the game. He’s a big-time transition weapon, capable of taking the ball coast-to-coast himself. He can finish with either hand from a variety of angles. He’s also a smart off-ball player, creating offensive opportunities with his instincts cutting back-door. He uses his quickness to attack closeouts and explodes to the rim when he has space. Jackson displays good feel for the game as well, averaging 3.0 assists per game. His lack of discipline does shows up on the offensive end though, as he also committed 2.8 turnovers per game.

The key to Jackson’s offensive potential will be his jump shot. He shot 37.8% from three this season, which is a good mark for a college shooter. However, Jackson finished the season on a ridiculous hot streak, shooting 50% from downtown in February and March. His ugly shot mechanics and poor 56.6% free-throw percentage may be a better measuring tool for his shooting at the next level. Jackson’s shot form consists of a slow-developing release that starts low around his waist and comes out in front of his face. He is susceptible to really bad misses, often hitting nothing but the backboard. He’s especially bad when shooting off the dribble, since his form prevents him from creating enough space to get his shot off. He was better at hitting spot-up open threes, which he needs to be able to make enough of to force the defense to respect his perimeter game.

Jackson can also be useful in the half-court with his ability to initiate the offense. He can run the pick-and-roll as a ball-handler or as a screen man. He doesn’t have great ball-handling skills, but he can use screens to get to the rim with a head of steam. His best pick-and-roll skill may be his decision making. He can feed the big man rolling or whip passes to shooters in the corner. However, defenses will sag off and go under screens if Jackson doesn’t threaten them with his jump shot. When defenders can get in front of him, he lacks creativity and is often forced to kill his dribble. Where Jackson can be a threat in one-on-one situations is in the post. He flashes some post moves, hitting simple hook shots and turnaround jumpers. He also passes well out of the post and gets involved on the offensive boards down low. He doesn’t’ have the best touch around the rim, but he’s shifty and has good body control to hit difficult shots around bigger players. He had 4.9 FTA per game, showing an ability to absorb contact well.

Josh Jackson is an exciting prospect, showing high upside in just about every facet of the game. He’s still a raw player though, especially on offense. His jump shot will be a major question and may be the key reason he falls out of a top three draft pick. Jackson should be a high level NBA player off his athleticism and defense alone, but developing a reliable jumper could help him reach a superstar level of play. Jackson also has some personality issues that could concern teams. He’s an emotional player on the court as he gets in silly foul trouble, including picking up technical fouls. He also had some legal issues while at Kansas. On the court though, Jackson’s defensive versatility gives him a high floor with plenty of room to continue to grow as a player.

Jayson Tatum NBA Draft Profile

A top five national recruit, Jayson Tatum committed to Duke with hopes of becoming the next one-and-done top draft pick under Coach K. Tatum missed the first eight games of the season with a foot injury, but immediately made his impact felt when he saw the court. He dropped 22 on a good Florida team in his second career college game and went on to average 16.8 points for the season. Standing 6-8 with a 6-11 wingspan and 200+ lb. frame, he has ideal size for an NBA small forward. Tatum is at his best in isolation situations, which is a coveted skill in the NBA.

Jayson Tatum is a walking mismatch on the offensive end of the floor. He is especially dangerous in transition where it’s nearly impossible to stop him from getting all the way to the hoop. He’s a smooth athlete for his size, making him a tough cover for bigger, slow-footed forwards. However, at 6-8, he’s also too big for smaller players to check. In the half-court, Tatum has a complete arsenal of moves he can use in one-on-one situations. He goes to work in the mid-post, using jab-steps and crossovers to create space for him to hit fade-aways and turnaround jumpers with ease. He loves using hard fakes to get the defender going one way, then quickly stepping back for an open jumper. His blend of size and agility makes him a nightmare for defenses.

Tatum still has some work to do to become a complete offensive player, but he showed flashes of a little bit of everything while at Duke. He is far from a reliable deep-range shooter, but did make a respectable 34% of his threes this year. He’s most comfortable shooting off the catch with space, but tends to struggle when defenders are able to contest his shot. He’s capable of hitting jumpers off the dribble, but he settles too often for difficult mid-range pull-ups. He’s still a streaky shooter, but makes enough to force the defense to respect his shot. Tatum also shows promise of a low-post game. He uses his size to post up smaller forwards and displays good footwork and touch around the rim. He can drop in a hook shot or turnaround jumper over either shoulder.

Where Tatum will struggle on offense at the next level is with his average quickness. He’s more of a smooth athlete than a quick-twitch one and can struggle to get all the way to the rim against quicker defenders. He doesn’t have a great first step and his handle is relatively basic, limiting his drive opportunities. Tatum lived off hitting tough shots at Duke and will need to adjust to the bigger, quicker NBA to score at a high rate. He lacks a certain level of consistency in his overall game. He has solid vision as a passer but isn’t always looking to make plays for others. Tatum did average 2.1 assists, but offset that with 2.6 turnovers per game.

Tatum also has potential to be a useful, versatile defender, but he’s still raw on that end of the floor. He has the length to contain perimeter players, but needs to improve his technique and discipline. He also has enough size to defend power forwards, which will allow teams to use him as a mismatch stretch-four. Despite his solid frame, Tatum was still susceptible to being overmatched by bigger forwards in the paint. He’ll need to improve his base to hold his own against NBA forwards. Despite his struggles, Tatum still collected 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, showing the capability to become a well-rounded defender.

            Jayson Tatum enters the NBA Draft as one of the more promising offensive scoring threats. Tatum is masterful in one-on-one situations, a key skill to have at the NBA level. His combination of size and athleticism makes him tough for defenders to manage. He can use his skill level to get past bigger players and his size to take on smaller players in the paint. Tatum does lack an elite level of quickness, which could hamper his ability to score as easily in the NBA. He will need to become more consistent as a jump shooter or passer to really open up his potential. Jayson Tatum should have little trouble being a shot-maker in the NBA, but will need to expand his game to reach the superstar level that he is capable of.

Luke Kennard NBA Draft Profile

Coming into this season, Luke Kennard’s role at Duke was relatively unknown. With Grayson Allen returning as preseason ACC Player of the Year, veterans Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson in the fold and high profile recruits like Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Frank Jackson joining the team, Kennard was going to have to fight to earn minutes. However, with early season injuries giving Kennard the opportunity to see ample playing time, he solidified himself as one of the best players in the entire ACC. He went on to start every game but one and scored 19.5 points per game. He also played well enough to raise his NBA Draft stock into first round territory.

Kennard’s most NBA-ready skill is his jump shot. He shot a scorching 43.8% from three this season on 5.4 attempts per game. He can get his jumper off in a mixture of ways. He shoots it at a high rate while set, pulling up off the dribble and on the move coming around screens. Kennard moves without the ball extremely well, always improving his chances to get open catch and shoot opportunities. He can also create space off the dribble, toying with defenders closing out on him. He likes utilizing shot fakes to get past the defender, then either pulling up from mid-range or stepping back for an open three. Kennard should have no trouble adjusting to NBA range. He has textbook shot mechanics with a quick release that wastes no motion, and he shot 87% from the free-throw line while at Duke.

Standing 6-5, Kennard has good size for an NBA guard. What he lacks in length and bulk he makes up for with his skill level and basketball IQ. Kennard isn’t particularly quick or explosive with the ball, but he’s crafty and has a knack for getting to his spots on the floor. His physical shortcomings force him to play mostly below the rim. He struggles to finish in traffic or over length. When he does maneuver his way into the paint, he uses a variety of moves to get shots up. He has difficulty getting all the way to the rim, but he uses ball fakes and spin moves with proficiency to create space. He has soft touch on his floaters and uses step-backs to get shots off. He’s naturally right-handed, but uses his left hand to shoot the basketball which gives him ambidexterity on the court.

With Duke lacking a true point guard, Kennard had to create much of his offense on his own. NBA teams will love his potential to play as a combo guard. Kennard can run the pick and roll as a ball handler. He has the ability to split defenders, drive past switches, pass over the top or hit a pull-up jumper. He doesn’t have a quick first step, but he has the craftiness and instincts to use screens to his advantage. He’s a smart passer who can drive and kick out to shooters at the right times. He makes the easy, smart passes within the flow of the offense.

Kennard’s defensive flaws will be his biggest weakness at the next level. He has the undesirable combination of having poor lateral quickness along the perimeter and lacking strength to defend the paint. Too often his intensity and focus on the defensive end of the floor is lousy. With his high offensive usage at Duke, Kennard used most defensive possessions to relax. He gets caught ball watching, often getting beat on back-door cuts. He’s also not a strong rebounder and got hardly any steals or blocks. His coach will have to hide him on defense, making it vital for Kennard to be effective offensively to earn playing time.

Luke Kennard was one of the most dynamic scorers in the nation while at Duke. He doesn’t have an NBA-caliber physical profile or elite athleticism, but he uses his savviness and instincts to score with high efficiency. Kennard’s jump shot is his most polished skill, but he’s much more than just a shooter. He’s capable of running an offense and can be a weapon in the pick and roll. Kennard’s lack of athleticism will be a cause for concern. It is fair to question if his craftiness will work going against longer, more athletic players in the NBA. He’s also a major liability on defense, making his offensive production that much more important.

Justin Jackson NBA Draft Profile

Justin Jackson was one of the most improved players in the nation from his sophomore to junior season. Jackson was named ACC Player of the Year and was a key piece in getting North Carolina back to the championship game to earn redemption from their defeat the previous season. He tested the NBA Draft waters last year and returned to school after being informed of what needed to be refined within his game. Jackson made a substantial leap offensively, scoring 18.3 points per game, up from 12.2 the year before. He also elevated his three-point shooting from 29% as a sophomore to 37% on seven attempts per game this season. Jackson isn’t a great athlete and has a thin frame relative to his height, but his skill level and basketball IQ help outweigh his shortcomings. Standing 6-8 with a 6-11 wingspan, Jackson has good measurables for a small forward, but he needs to add bulk to his 200 lb. frame. With his impressive feel for the game and experience at age 22, Jackson should be able to contribute right away in the NBA.

Where Jackson will be relied on the most is with his outside shooting. He shot just 29.7% from three on 212 attempts in his first two seasons at North Carolina. This season though, Jackson shot an efficient 37% on 284 attempts. Jackson is an especially skilled shooter off the catch, using his quick release and sound footwork. He works hard off the ball, running around screens and relocating himself to create open shot opportunities. He has legitimate NBA range on his threes, but there is reason to question if his shooting surge will continue to the next level. Teams won’t forget his shooting struggles during his first two collegiate seasons, and he still had stretches of cold shooting as a junior. Jackson only shot 30% from three throughout March and April, including going 0-for-9 in the championship game.

A major area where Jackson needs to improve upon is his ability to create offense for himself. He is capable of hitting a pull-up jumper in a pick-and-roll scenario, but he isn’t very adept at scoring in one-on-one situations. Jackson has a relatively poor handle and a slow first step, limiting his ability to get to the rim. The best way North Carolina was able to get him inside was by coming off screens and catching passes as he curled into the paint. Once he does get into the paint, Jackson avoids contact at almost any cost. Most times, Jackson is forced to rely on floaters and tough mid-range pull-ups. He is an expert with his floater, hitting them at a high rate using either hand. However, that shot will be much tougher to hit consistently against the length of NBA big men.

Despite his flaws, Jackson should still be a solid contributor in the NBA thanks to his high basketball IQ. He moves the ball well within an offense and doesn’t make many mistakes, as he had 312 assists to just 164 turnovers in his college career. He uses his height to see over the defense and makes impressive passes with ease. Jackson also has improved defensively quite a bit. He doesn’t have great lateral quickness, but he’s consistently dialed in defending the perimeter and uses his length to contest jumpers. He will need to add strength to be able to check the bigger forwards in the NBA. Jackson is a poor defensive rebounder, grabbing just 3.2 boards per game on the defensive end. He’ll need to mix it up a bit more in the paint to be an impactful defender.

Justin Jackson certainly improved his stock as an NBA prospect during his junior season. Jackson still has numerous questions about his game at the next level, but his feel for the game should help him have a sustained NBA career. The improvement of his jump shot needs to carry over for him to have a useful role offensively. He also needs to add some strength to survive against NBA forwards. Jackson has the size at 6-8 to be used as a stretch four, but he won’t be much of a factor there without some added bulk. Jackson has a relatively safe floor as long as his jumper translates, but his lack of high upside may keep him in the back half of the first round.

Bam Adebayo NBA Draft Profile

Edrice “Bam” Adebayo had a highly productive season at Kentucky, scoring 13 points per game on 60% shooting from the field. Adebayo is a raw prospect who is slightly undersized as a true center at just 6-10. He does have good length with a 7-3 wingspan and a beastly physical profile at nearly 250 lbs. NBA teams will likely see him as a high energy reserve big man that can play a role in the league on limited minutes.

Adebayo’s offensive production wasn’t diversified at Kentucky. He scores essentially all of his field goals at the rim, most of which come on emphatic dunks. He’s mobile for a center and the Kentucky guards were always looking to throw him lobs in transition. Adebayo can be used as a roll man on screens, where he’s quick off the floor for easy finishes. Another large chunk of his production comes from his work on the offensive glass, which may be his best NBA trait. He grabbed 3.1 offensive boards per game, often tipping the ball back in on his first jump. Adebayo isn’t as skilled at grabbing the ball and coming down with it. He doesn’t have good touch on follow-up shots and was subject to bringing the ball down, leading to turnovers.

With Adebayo being undersized at 6-10, teams will have to consider how his game will translate to the bigger, faster NBA. He relied mostly on his strength in college, scoring on dunks and getting to the free-throw line. However, when facing NBA centers he likely won’t be able to simply over-power his way to the rim. He has a low skill level and his feel for the game isn’t very refined. His post-game is extremely raw. He has poor footwork and no touch on his hook shots. He wants to do nothing except turn to his left shoulder and throw up a right-hand shot and defenses can easily sit on that. Where he does show some promise is with his jump shot, which isn’t completely broken. He didn’t display any ability to hit jumpers at Kentucky, but he did shoot a decent 65.3% from the free-throw line. Developing into a mid-range shooter would be huge for his offensive output at the next level.

Adebayo has potential to be a useful defender in the NBA, but he needs to become more focused and improve his motor on that end of the floor. He has the strength to defend post players and is also mobile enough to contain the perimeter. He does have the length to possibly be a rim protector, but his reach is average and he will need better awareness to be a reliable shot blocker. He also lacks the awareness to be a strong defensive rebounder, which could cost him playing time. He only grabbed 4.9 defensive rebounds per game, which is one of the worst numbers among big men in the draft.

Bam Adebayo likely projects as nothing more than a high-energy big man off the bench in the NBA. His offense doesn’t have many aspects to it and his reliance on his strength won’t work as well at the next level. Adebayo is a raw player who lacks a degree of skill that’s necessary to last in the NBA. If he’s able to add some consistency and awareness to his game, then he could be able to use his strong frame to his advantage. He should be able to immediately contribute with his offensive rebounding, but needs to improve his touch around the rim. Adebayo’s lack of height could restrict his upside and he’ll likely be a second round selection that a team will hope to further develop.

Lauri Markkanen NBA Draft Profile

Lauri Markkanen could have been a relatively unknown international prospect a year ago but decided to attend Arizona to showcase his skills. His choice to play college basketball payed off as he grew into a top ten NBA Draft prospect. The Finland native is a unique seven-footer who is fluid on his feet and has a beautiful shooting stroke. At just 20 years old, Markkanen already has an excellent understanding for the game and should be able to immediately contribute offensively. NBA teams will love Markkanen’s potential as a stretch four at the next level.

Markkanen’s superb offensive game begins and ends with his jump shot. He hit 42.3% of his threes on 4.4 attempts per game. Markkanen has a textbook shooting stroke, getting his shot off quickly with no wasted motion. Much more than just a stand-still shooter, he can get his jumper off in just about every area of the game. He’s at his best when shooting off the catch, but is capable of dribbling into a pull-up. Markkanen is excellent at moving off-ball, positioning himself for easy, open shots. He can also be used in ball screens as a pick and pop weapon. Markkanen is comfortable attacking closeouts as well, where he can put the ball on the floor and dribble into a mid-range fade-away. He isn’t a polished playmaker with less than one assist per game, but he’s a smart player within an offense and doesn’t turn it over at high rate.

For as lethal as Markkanen can be as a jump shooter, he will need to improve his offensive versatility. He’s a decent athlete but lacks NBA-caliber strength and explosiveness. He will need to improve his toughness and quickness so he can spend some time playing in the mid-to-low post. He does have some face-up potential, but he’s best at getting to the rim when he already has a head of steam. His lack of length shows up around the rim as he doesn’t finish well in traffic. There is a concern that he plays too much like a guard in a seven-footer’s body. College defenses would often be content switching smaller players onto Markkanen as he doesn’t thrive in one-on-one situations and doesn’t have the post-game to make them pay. He did snag 2.4 offensive rebounds per game and averaged 4.4 FTA per game, so he does show potential to contribute in different ways on offense.

Defensively, Markkanen has a bit more work to do to make an impact at the next level. Being seven feet tall, Markkanen will be expected to protect the rim, which he isn’t capable of yet. He has average length and isn’t a great leaper which compromises his potential to be a rim protector and also dampers his ability to rebound well. He does have solid footwork and instincts to hold his own on the perimeter which will be necessary as he projects to play a lot of power forward. He lacks the strength to defend the post and gives up a lot of space in the paint, which will impede his ability to play as a stretch center.

Lauri Markkanen is a seven-footer with rare shooting ability who should fit perfectly in an NBA offense. He has a strong understanding of the game and is polished for someone his age. Markkanen will need to expand his game to avoid becoming a one-dimensional player. He will draw comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, but he must develop his mid-post game to even come close to playing at that level. Markkanen will also need to make an impact defensively to stay on the floor. He has the game of a stretch power forward, but at seven-feet tall, teams will want him to spend some time at center. He needs to add strength to his frame to survive in the post at the next level. In any event, Markkanen should have the shooting ability to stick in the league for a long time.

Zach Collins NBA Draft Profile

Zach Collins used a strong NCAA Tournament performance to solidify himself as a lottery-caliber draft prospect. As part of a crowded and experienced front-court at Gonzaga, he didn’t start a single game and averaged just 17.3 minutes per game. Despite the limited playing time, Collins still had outstanding per-40 minute numbers. Standing seven feet tall, he has excellent size for a power forward and could easily slide to center once he adds some more bulk to his frame. Collins is still a raw player, but has potential to be a versatile asset in the NBA on both ends of the floor.

Collins’ size and athleticism is what established him as an NBA prospect. He is a legitimate seven-footer and has impressive mobility for his size. He runs the floor well and can finish above the rim in the open floor. In the half-court, Collins isn’t advanced in any one area but shows potential in just about every aspect of the game. He compiles most of his offensive production on easy buckets at the rim. He gets behind the defense in transition, rolls off of screens and positions himself for lob opportunities. He’s a quick leaper and has reliable hands which helped him finish 67.2% of his field goals inside the arc.

Where Collins can become a significant weapon is with his offensive versatility. He’s not a reliable jump shooter yet, but he did go 10-21 from three at Gonzaga. He also shot a modest 74.3% from the free-throw line, displaying a promising shooting stroke. He will need to work on speeding up his release and gaining more confidence in his shot. With his size, Collins will also be expected to do some work in the post, where he showed flashes. He was able to get to his spots and hit simple post shots, but scouts will be concerned about the level of his competition. In order for him to become a consistent big man in the NBA, Collins will need to add strength to survive in the paint. He has just average length for his size as well, which can make it difficult for him to score over the top. It would also be beneficial for Collins to improve his decision making. With his reduced playing time, he lacks maturity and is still developing his feel for the game, as he had just 16 assists compared to 60 turnovers.

Where Collins can also make his presence felt is on the defensive end of the floor. He averaged 1.8 blocks per game, which translates to 4.1 per 40 minutes. He doesn’t have elite length for his size but with 18 total blocks in the NCAA Tournament, he showcased his ability to protect the rim. Collins will need to add strength to defend the post, especially if he is used as a center. Collins does have the mobility to step out and defend ball screens, a key skill in today’s perimeter-oriented NBA. He was a tremendous rebounder at Gonzaga as well. He grabbed 13.6 boards per 40 minutes, displaying the ability to box out and chase down loose balls. He is still quite undisciplined on defense, consistently getting in foul trouble. This really hurt the Zags in the championship game, as he fouled out in just 14 minutes played.

Zach Collins has unquestionable potential on both ends of the floor, but he still lacks seasoning and experience. He possesses serious size for an NBA big and his ability to stretch the floor is highly coveted in the league today. Collins didn’t shoot many deep jumpers, but his shot will unlock his full potential on offense. Defensively, Collins has the versatility to protect the rim while also being able to slide his feet along the perimeter. With Gonzaga playing in the West Coast Conference, teams will have to determine if Collins’ productivity in limited playing time will translate against NBA athletes. His strong showings in the Final Four will be valuable for Collins, and he may hear his name called in the lottery on draft night.