Draft Preview: Demetrius Jackson.

Continued preview for the draft. You can read about Domantas Sabonis right here.Once again, I don't watch that much college basketball, so all of this comes with a real grain of salt.

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Who is Demetrius Jackson?

Jackson is one of a long list of really good high school players hailing from Indiana where he was a stud for his last 2 years of high school and was fairly highly recruited. Upon arrival at Notre Dame, he started off as a backup his freshman year, and then took over the starting PG spot for his Sophomore season. He had a fairly successful season, and was a threat to leave for the draft, but opted to return for his Junior season, where he once again was the starter and had a very solid season for the Irish. He is currently 21 years old, and will turn 22 very early in the next NBA season.

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The Good:

There is some stuff that is pretty eye popping about Jackson. Although he is 6'1, he has a long wing span and is very strong. He is an explosive athlete heading to the rim, and a pretty good finisher once he gets there. His athleticism has lead some to dub him "The next Russel Westbrook." Obviously those people are exaggerating his potential by a fair margin, but the fact that anyone is saying it at all is a testament to Jackson's athletic ability.

The main thing that I like about Jackson is his defensive potential. He was not always a great defender and would get a bit un-focused at times, although allegedly Notre Dame doesn't really focus on defense much and this is a big reason for his occasional lack of concentration. But between his length, strength, quickness, and competitiveness, he has a real chance to be a defensive menace. I of course think that it is important for the Pistons to try and add a couple of defenders to the roster this offseason, and Jackson should fit that mold. Although if Notre Dame really pays as little attention to defense as most of the scouting reports say, then he might have some learning up to do, but SVG is as good a coach to learn defense from as anyone.

On offense he has some potential as a slasher, and he may or may not be a good shooter. He went from nearly 38% to 33% from deep from his 2nd and 3rd seasons in college, but at least there is some evidence of him being able to shoot a bit. And he has some real pop to get to the hoop and finish at the rim, and has some nice moves to help himself get there as well.

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The Bad:

As stated, he sometimes was not all that focused on defense, and occasionally was not all that interested in playing defense. This was generally attributed to playing for Notre Dame, but even so, defenders that are whip smart in college take time to adjust to the NBA game, and his lack of smarts (for lack of a better term.) means he will likely need a bit extra time.

He is good at driving to the hoop, but he can be almost comically right hand dependent. And he can get some tunnel vision and not always make the best smart plays. It was not a huge problem for him, he generally did fine as a facilitator and passer, but it was enough of an issue that it should worry the Pistons a bit at the very least. Once again, the NBA game is much faster than college, and the defenders are longer and quicker. If he was an average (at best) floor reader and passer in college, he may be problematically bad as a pro.

His shooting was inconsistent, and even though there is some evidence that he can shoot, his mechanics have some inconsistencies which would make the inconsistent results likely to continue and are probably not just a fluke.

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The Upside?

The Pistons like Jackson enough to draft him with their first pick, and don't spend much money on a free agent PG, instead grabbing someone less expensive. (Just as a for instance we will say DJ Augustine.) Jackson shows up with defensive fire and raw offensive potential, and he starts off the season as a energy/defense guy who occasionally gets minutes when SVG wants to inject energy and defense to the bench mobs. Sometimes playing as the backup PG and sometimes alongside him. As the season goes on his defense proves to absolutely be NBA ready, his ability to get to the hoop is for real, and his shot is respectable. He takes over as the full time backup PG and sticks around as a great change of pace to Reggie Jackson and teams up with Stanley Johnson to form a terrifyingly athletic-out of control-defensive menace-reckless rim attacking-bench mob duo that leads the bench to death and glory many times.

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The Downside:

His shot is kind of broken, his passing and facilitating is piss poor, his size keeps him from being a good finisher inside, and his defense has a long ways to go. The Pistons sign a bigger name/bigger money backup PG (Jeremy Lin, Austin Rivers just as examples) and Jackson spends the next few years in the same purgatory as Spencer Dinwiddie, with a bad combination of not being very good and not earning SVG's trust enough to ever get minutes and alternates between the bench and the D-League, before the Pistons give up on him by dumping him in a trade or letting him go in free agency.

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NBA Comparison?

Eric Bledsoe, Clippers version. Bledsoe has become a much better player than I think Jackson ever really will be, but the Clippers version of him is something I could see Jackson becoming. An athletic and energetic monster who comes out and smothers opposing backup PGs with his strength and athleticism, and is lacking in offensive polish, but makes up for it with raw athleticism. Making him a very good and super fun backup PG to have on your team.

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The Verdict?

I have said that I would rather the Pistons draft a PF than a PG just because it will be easier to find minutes for a PF without relying on him for 18 a night. HOWEVA, I do see some real potential with Jackson, especially as a defender. Even if his offense would never be that polished/good, with the amount of shooting the bench mob figures to feature combined with (probably) one of Morris or Johnson sharing the ball handling duties with the bench mob and I think he would be ok on that end.

Still though, the thing that worries me about him or any other PG is that the Pistons have said they are almost certain to sign a free agent PG. And I worry that no matter how good Jackson (or anyone else) might be, there is a good chance they rot on the bench for 2 or 3 years. Not that it would be the worst thing if Jackson were to get to be understudy for a couple years and then take over the backup job more ready for it, but it still worries me. Point guard on offense is one of the 2 things that it is important to get guys in game reps for. (With rim protecting on defense being the other big one.) Because there is no replacement for having to make the quick decisions under pressure that you do on an NBA court.

The main thing to me though, is that if the Pistons think Jackson is pretty clearly better than any of the PFs on the board, then they should just go with him. I don't want them to reach on a PF because it fits better. And if the Pistons draft Jackson I would be fine, and even excited by it because he has some real potential.

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What do you think? Should the Pistons draft Demetrius Jackson? Let me know! We all get smarter!

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Just an FYI: I know that at least a few people often use the "Blog option." I just switched from wordpress to squaredspace for my blog, and I am still getting all set up. So the blog option will be out of commission for a wee bit. I also was an idiot and didn't import all of my posts first so I am currently going through my submission history and copying and pasting all of them to the new spot.