Before I get on with today's prospect, I want to briefly share my thoughts about my expectations for the Knicks and their #17 draft pick. I also want to share my real name with all of you, since Seth asked so kindly before. You can all call me Ross (my name is also my Twitter handle, which shows up every time I comment... so I'm sure some of you put 2+2 together?). Nice to finally be formally introduced to you all.
Most experts are saying that this draft is one of the weakest in a while. I actually think there is some depth in this draft. What it's weak in is potential "superstar"-type players. There are no LeBrons in this draft, but there are plenty of guys that can be serviceable NBA players. That's all I am looking for at #17, and it's the kind of player the Knicks need the most. We already have Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony at the top of the heap. The next step is adding quality depth to make their jobs easier. What I want out of my #17 pick is someone that can provide energy off the bench on both sides of the ball, has one translatable skill, and has the potential to grow into a larger role hopefully. Whether that is an energy defender/rebounder like Kenneth Faried, a smooth scorer off the bench like Marshon Brooks, or a high-energy super athlete like Josh Selby, these are the kind of players the Knicks need to create depth.
Here are the #17 picks of the last decade starting with the most recent: Kevin Seraphin, Jrue Holiday, Roy Hibbert, Sean Williams, Shawne Williams (WEIRD), Danny Granger, Josh Smith, Zarko Cabarkapa, Juan Dixon, Michael Bradley, and Desmond Mason. There are a few complete flops here and also plenty of really talented guys in that group, but no real superstars (well maybe one if you count Extra E, but I'm not quite ready to do that yet). If the Knicks need to play it safe to make sure a player with tangible skills is selected, so be it.
Anyway, today we are going to become more familiar with Reggie Jackson. Yes, that Reggie Jackson.
Reginald Martinez Jackson Reggie Jackson is a point guard from Colorado, just completed his junior season at Boston College and declared for the draft about a month ago. He is obviously staying in the draft now, but I was an idiot and didn't realize June was already on the horizon. Silly me. Jackson had a very nice season last year for the Eagles, leading the team in scoring and assists (18.2 PPG, 4.5 APG) while showing vast improvement in his shooting and decision-making. He was "the man" this year for BC like Eugene Levy and proved he could be the go-to guy while also running the point for his club. The reason this is so valuable for the Knicks is that they have been looking for a natural floor general to run MDA's offense. Chris Duhon wasn't the answer. I like Billups, but he is on the decline and won't be able to do this for forever. We all love what Toney Douglas does, but he is still too much of a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body. Mr. Jackson is a pure point guard, but also proved he is a valuable offensive weapon.
Measurements: Height - 6' 3"; Weight - 200-210 lbs.; Wingspan - Around 7' (Jackson was not in attendance at this year's draft combine due to injuries, so other measurements aren't available).
Projected Draft Position (as of right now): 22 at DraftExpress.com, 39 at NBADraft.net (???), 20 at ProBasketballDraft.com, and 28 at SI.com.
Amateur Take - Offense: Jackson has made leaps and bounds when it comes to shooting the ball. During his first two seasons at Boston College, he was a sub-30% shooter from long range and only shot 44 and 43% his freshman and sophomore years, respectively. He improved to 50% shooting from the field as a junior and shot an astounding 42% from three, an increase in 13 percentage points. Jackson wasn't taking fewer shots, either. He shot 59 more three pointers and 98 more field goals than during his junior season. His points per shot skyrocketed from 1.18 as a sophomore to 1.42 as a junior. This tells us a couple of things. One, he worked hard on his jump shot, which it appears was a glaring weakness in his overall offensive game. Two, he was taking better shots to improve those percentages all across the board. His 18 PPG led Boston College, and he had some decent performances against some good programs.
As a point guard, Jackson is a capable distributor. He averaged 4.5 assists each of the last two seasons, but is A/TO ratio improved every season. That shows me that he was taking better care of the ball and becoming a better distributer. Jackson's great length is an asset as it allows him to play bigger than his already big 6' 3" frame. This allows him to be active in the paint and be a feisty offensive rebounder (he averaged 2 a game his sophomore year). Jackson possesses great athleticism, which is a plus for a fast-paced offense like that of the Knicks.
Amateur Take - Defense: Jackson, according to DraftExpress.com's Matthew Kamalsky, has the potential to be a very good defender at the next level. A big reason for this is his length and his lateral quickness. Jackson led BC in steals last year with 1.1 per game, and that length can go a long way towards pestering guards. Kamalsky believes that this length could allow Jackson to defend both guard positions at the next level someday, which would be a nice asset. Imagine a defensive lineup of Toney Douglas hawking point guards and Jackson bothering shooting guards with his length, and then both players take turns knocking down threes? Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Kamalsky points out that Jackson does have some deficiencies on the defensive end. He often gets caught out of position because he goes for rebounds, isn't great at defending the pick-and-roll, and doesn't have a complete grasp of defensive fundamentals. These aren't major problems though, and if he worked that hard to improve his shooting, this shouldn't be nearly as hard to correct. Jackson is a great rebounder for a point guard. He averaged over five rebounds a game as a sophomore and that dipped to under five last season, but that skill is something guards don't often have.
Comparisons: DraftExpress says that his best-case is George Hill and his worst case is Garrett Temple. I have a comparison, but I am waiting until my Big Finish for that.
The Clyde Factor: Reggie Jackson. That's fairly simple, wouldn't you say? I don't see Clyde screwing that up, but what I do see is an excessive usage of a "Mr. _______" (fill in month) nickname. If Jackson goes off in December, Mr. December! Hopefully one day we can all call him Mr. June (or Mr. August if the evolution of the NBA Playoffs takes us there).
- I'm keeping it short and sweet today. According to his BC Player Profile, Jackson was born in Italy and lived in Europe and all over the US before finally landing in Colorado in the 6th grade. Some of the places he has been: Italy, England, North Dakota, Florida, and Georgia.
- He was Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Colorado after his senior season.
- He played football in high school.
- He once hit three home runs in the 1977 World Series on three straight at bats for the Yankees... Damn I need to stop doing that.
- Reggie Jackson isn't the latest Reggie Jackson to come out of the college basketball ranks. A Reggie Jackson was the point guard for the Duquesne Dukes in the 2007-2008 season. He wasn't nearly as good as this most recent incarnation.
Let's go to the video:
Reggie Jackson Boston College Highlights (via Sportsvideogames1)
Reggie Jackson Dunk - Boston College vs. Miami (via bldingman) -Who cares if it didn't count?
CBSSports.com Reggie Jackson after 31-point game (via giddy41)
Things to Take Away:
- You can see the kind of court vision Jackson has. He can create in the lane and from the perimeter to find open teammates.
- He kind of has a funky shot, but if it works I won't be the one to change it.
- You can see glimpses of his athleticism as he knifes into the lane or leaps for an offensive rebound.
- Not a bunch of defense, but there were a couple shots of him using his length and timing to disrupt passes.
- That dunk. YIKES.
- He seemed comfortable running the point, but these are highlight videos. There aren't clips of him being dogged on a press or having to deal with an intense man-to-man defense.