The Detroit native is making the most of his (likely) only season as a Jayhawk, filling up the stat sheet on a nightly basis.
Josh Jackson, a consensus top-3 player in the 2016 recruiting class, has more than lived up to the hype surrounding his ability prior to the 2016-17 season. Jackson is currently averaging 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, along with 1.5 steals and blocks per game while playing just under 28 minutes and shooting around 51% from the field.
Jackson’s all-around ability is evident in his per game numbers, as each game he finds various ways to create offense for Kansas, as well as heading a defensive unit that has been under scrutiny through the first 16 games of the season.
Recently, The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks wrote about Jackson’s NBA prospects. Tjarks praised Jackson’s athleticism and basketball IQ, but lamented his glaring weakness, particularly perimeter shooting, as a reason Jackson will not go number one overall in next year’s NBA Draft.
If you had to point to a weakness in Jackson’s game, it would unquestionably be three-point shooting, where the freshman is shooting just 26% this season. Of the five guards in Bill Self’s rotation, Jackson is the only one shooting under 38% from beyond the arc. From the free-throw line, Jackson has improved as of late, shooting 65% from the stripe in four conference games, contrasted with his 57% mark over the course of the year.
Kansas sits at third in the nation with a 42% three-point clip through 16 games. Jackson does so many things well on the offensive end that him shooting three’s efficiently would be a welcome addition, but not a necessity.
Of course, when assessing a player’s draft status and expected value at the NBA level, these traits will be magnified by talent evaluators and rightfully so. But at the college level, Jackson has produced at an all-american level.
Currently, KenPom has Jackson at #7 in his Player of the Year Standings, just behind KU’s Frank Mason. Jackson and Mason are the top two Big 12 players listed.
Per College Basketball Reference, Box Plus/Minus (BPM) is defined as: A box score estimate of the points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player, translated to an average team. BPM is the sum of a player’s offensive and defensive bpm’s. BPM does a great job illustrating just how versatile of a player Jackson is. Jackson’s BPM currently sits at 11.1, second on the team behind Frank Mason’s 11.4. The breakout of Jackson’s BPM goes like this: offensive bpm: 5.5, defensive bpm: 5.6, showing that his value to this Kansas team is distributed nearly equally on both sides of the floor.
Jackson’s stay in Lawrence will likely be short, but it is no doubt enjoyable for fans to watch him play an exciting, relentless style of basketball. The program’s biggest recruiting triumph since Andrew Wiggins, Jackson has lived up to the hype and perhaps even surpassed it.