Justin Jackson’s play has elevated, and the Sacramento Kings and their fans should be pumped.
The label “bust” was starting to be thrown around at sophomore forward Justin Jackson. I will admit, I was starting to lose faith in the Sacramento Kings’ 2017 first-round pick as well. But as the season has gone on, Jackson has found his niche with the young Kings.
After a subpar rookie year, it was critical for Jackson to make a leap of improvement this season. To begin the campaign, it was ugly as in the first eight games he averaged seven points a night but shot an ineffective 37.3% from the floor and 20.7% from the perimeter. But as the year has progressed, so has the former Tar Heel.
In the month of November, Jackson averaged around six points but made over 50% of his shot attempts and 40% of his three-pointers. Currently, in December, he is still making 50% of his baskets and has upped his three-point percentage to over a 45% success rate.
For the year overall, he is averaging almost seven points a contest while shooting over 45% from the floor and 35% from the three-point stripe.
When looking at the averages for Jackson, improvement will not be seen. But there is no question that his efficiency has skyrocketed. He is starting to become a reliable spot-up shooter coming off the bench as well as a pesky defender at times. He even has shined in big moments as he has made key shots for his team during crunch time.
In the beginning stage of the season, it felt like Jackson’s struggles were put under a microscope. But now that his play on the court has elevated, that microscope has suddenly disappeared. So here I am, writing this piece to commend Jackson. Yes, the sophomore forward still has a lot more to work on, but his gradual improvement throughout the year is encouraging.
If Jackson is able to continue this pattern of development, it will be huge for the Kings. The small forward spot has been thin for Sacramento since Rudy Gay left in 2017, so seeing Jackson contribute solid minutes at the position now has helped the Kings become more competitive.
Justin Jackson most likely will not be part of the main core for the Kings’ rebuild, but he definitely can become an important role player in their system. As of late, he has shown that potential and deserves credit for his efforts.