If there has been one word to describe the discussion over who the Los Angeles Lakers should select with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, it would be “insane.” However, if one were to pick a second word, it might be “fit.”
Most of the “fit” questions have been concerning UCLA guard Lonzo Ball — who most assumed for the majority of the process that the Lakers would select — and his fit alongside D’Angelo Russell given that both nominally play “point guard,” although the Lakers did switch Russell to the two at the end of last season, where he thrived.
Kansas wing Josh Jackson doesn’t come without questions about his fit either, although it’s his fit alongside Brandon Ingram more so than Russell that has some concerned.
After his surprise workout with the Lakers Tuesday, Jackson was asked for his thoughts on playing with Ingram, and it’s safe to say he likes the idea:
Jackson thinks it could be “really special” playing with Ingram. Noted how GSW+CLE didn’t play centers in “winning time.” Versatility a key.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 13, 2017
Jackson and Ingram could potentially be really special together, especially the way basketball is played today. As Jackson noted in citing the Golden State Warriors as an example, the league is increasingly switching oriented on defense, valuing quickness over sheer size.
It’s easy to envision Ingram and Jackson terrorizing Lakers opponents on the wing a few years down the line, a welcome visual for Lakers fans tired of watching the team sit at the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency year after year. Jackson can picture it too:
Jackson thinks he can guard “one through four” in today’s NBA. On offense, he played a lot of 4. Thinks he can play 1-3 as well on O.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 13, 2017
So all those factors make Jackson and easy pick, right? It’s not quite that simple. There is concern about a few areas of Jackson’s game, mainly about his unorthodox shot transferring to the next level. He was honest about that and other things he considers weaknesses while offering an evaluation of his game:
Jackson said strengths are being quick, versatile, athletic, a great passer. Weaknesses: ballhandling + shooting (but he’s working on ‘em).— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 13, 2017
Jackson, who called it an “honor” to be worked out by the Lakers, did his best to let fans and the organization know that he’s not content with where his game is at. He wants to address those weaknesses:
Josh Jackson concluded: “Whatever I have to do to win I’m going to figure it out.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 13, 2017
He also said he’s working on his weaknesses off the court, where he was charged with one count of criminal damage to property earlier this season:
Josh Jackson confirmed he's taken anger management classes recently. He said it has helped— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 14, 2017
Jackson may or may not have a promise from the Lakers to draft him. The NBA Draft takes place June 22.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our latest episode on why the Lakers could go with Jackson over Lonzo Ball below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.