Sacramento Kings Summer League Report Card: Justin Jackson

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 10: Justin Jackson
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 10: Justin Jackson /

Justin Jackson, the 15th pick in the draft, began his NBA journey in the Vegas Summer League.  This article gives the Kings’ wing a grade for his play.

Justin Jackson played well throughout the Vegas Summer League, leading the Kings in minutes and points per game (tied with Buddy Hield, but Hield played in half the games). Jackson’s efforts could not score the team many victories, but his 29 point performance in the final contest, a win over the Suns, ended Vegas on a high note for the Kings. Let us look at the 15th overall pick and ACC Player of the Year.

Per game stats in 6 contests (per RealGM): 32.3 MIN/16.7 PTS/37.9 FG%/23.7 3PT%/3.3 REB/2.3 AST/0.3 STL/0.3 BLK

Jackson’s scoring numbers showed his quick-fire release would translate to the NBA regarding getting his shot off. The percentages, on the other hand, were not efficient. It is only summer league, and I wouldn’t expect him to take 15.8 shots a game during the regular season with the full roster intact. His floater game is advanced, but Jackson’s drives open up by knocking down jump-shots and attacking closeouts.

There are positives offensively, despite the inefficiency from the field. Jackson’s ability to get his shot up coming off screens, and sometimes directly over smaller players, translated from college. He showed some quickness going around aggressive closeouts and got his shot off when it was there. Jackson also kept the ball moving and continues to run the floor in search of transition buckets. He shouldered a larger scoring role as the roster thinned out with injuries, totaling 54 points in the last two games.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 10: Justin Jackson
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 10: Justin Jackson /

His defensive versatility was on display, as well. Jackson guarded multiple positions, including Mavericks’ point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Suns’ forward Josh Jackson. He should improve on the defensive end when he puts on strength to pair with his length and quickness in an NBA training program. Jackson could battle more on the boards, but it is hard to put up rebounding numbers playing alongside two bigs in Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis.

Perhaps making it out of Vegas unscathed is Jackson’s greatest positive. He appeared in every game, led the team in minutes, and is seemingly injury-free. Durability is important, and Jackson never missed extended time throughout his three seasons at the University of North Carolina. Maintaining this ability to stay on the court will enhance his continued development.

Next: Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA Draft grades

Final Thoughts:

Overall, this is what we expected to get from the 15th pick. Jackson is a shooter with NBA range that can defend multiple positions. He does the little things well and can affect the games without scoring. His game was on display in Vegas and should line Jackson up for plenty of minutes this season. Jackson’s shooting numbers are nothing to fret over as he will get open shots playing with better players in the future. Diversifying his handle and adding strength are the next steps to evolving his game.

JUSTIN JACKSON. A-. . Wing. Sacramento Kings