There are three prospects who are at the top of just about everyone’s board for the 2017 NBA Draft. Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball have both already declared, and now Kansas’ Josh Jackson has finally joined them.
Jackson released a statement officially declaring for the NBA Draft, thanking his coaches and teammates at Kansas, via ESPN:
“After thoroughly consulting with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball,” Jackson said in a statement Monday.
“I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from my coaches and teammates at Kansas,” he said, “and I look forward to starting my career in the NBA.”
Unlike Ball or Fultz, who are mainly offensive-minded players, one of Jackson’s biggest strengths is his defense. His size, length, and athleticism allow him to guard multiple positions and he takes pride on that end of the floor.
Jackson was one of the best freshmen in the country this season as he teamed with senior guards Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham to make Kansas one of the best teams in the NCAA all season. The Jayhawks made it to the Elite 8 before falling to Oregon.
Should the Lakers keep their top-three protected draft pick, Jackson could be a real possibility for them. Both he and Brandon Ingram offer positional flexibility from the forward position, and the Lakers could sorely use his defensive mindset. Additionally, he would give them another playmaker as he is an excellent ball handler and passer for his size.
In his lone season with the Jayhawks, Jackson averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 54.9 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from three-point range.