PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: There’s an unusually wide gap between where Jackson lands on ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board and DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 Prospect list. Ford currently ranks him as a mid- to late first-round prospect at No. 23 overall and No. 5 among point guards. Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, Dejounte Murray and Tyler Ulis are slotted ahead of Jackson on Ford’s Big Board. Givony has a much more optimistic view, pegging Jackson at No. 11 overall and third among point guards behind only Dunn and Murray. According the updated point guard rankings by NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Jackson ranks sixth among point guards with Kay Felder also ahead of him.
RISE/FALL: As the disparity in his draft range suggests, Jackson could go in the lottery or drop all the way to the second round, depending upon what he shows in predraft workouts. Jamal Murray and Dunn are solidly in the Top 10 but teams are likely to bring in the next level of point guard prospects and see how they fare against each other. Jackson has to show he can overcome his lack of height defensively by using his strength and quick feet. He also has to prove to coaches and executives that he’s an above-average shooter from deep. His stock could simply be dictated by how much teams value a second-unit point guard, since few view him as a starter-quality player, at least for right now.
FIT: Several teams projected at the bottom half of the lottery could take a long look at Jackson. The Kings, who might lose soon-to-be free agent Rajon Rondo, would fit that group if Dunn and Jamal Murray are off the board. The Bulls might bring in a young point guard to back up Derrick Rose, especially with Rose entering his walk year. There’s also some uncertainty about the Bucks’ point guard situation. Outside the lottery, the Pistons are clearly in the market for a second-stringer behind Reggie Jackson. The Grizzlies may need to protect themselves from the possible free agency loss of Mike Conley and the Rockets need a complementary piece to starter Patrick Beverley.
FINAL TAKE: There seems to be little doubt that Jackson can carve out a career as an energetic second-unit point guard. He might be the most athletic point guard on the board. But a lack of upside could cause him to drop to the bottom third of the first round, or even slide to the second round. As Ford puts it in his most recent take on Jackson, he doesn’t have one skill that stands out, but he has very few weaknesses.
For Part One of our Demetrius Jackson Prospect Profile, click here.