Every year, we spend a majority of the NBA’s regular season talking about two draft prospects jostling for position as the consensus No. 1 overall pick. And every year, at least one other player seems to creep their way into the discussion.
This year is no different.
Because Kansas’ Josh Jackson has joined UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Washington’s Markelle Fultz as a potential No. 1 prospect, according to the Sporting News’ Sean Deveney:
Jackson has been getting a lot of buzz as a potential No. 1 lately, especially if a team that doesn’t need a point guard lands with the top pick. Darren Matsubara of Wasserman Sports is a candidate, as well as LeBron James’ agent, Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul.
To be fair, Jackson was never especially out of the No 1 conversation. He just wasn’t being mentioned nearly as reflexively as Fultz or Ball. Most mocks have Fultz going first. A few have Jackson going second, inserting him into the No. 1 pool by default, but Ball has by and large dominated that position.
It makes sense, though, that Jackson is gaining traction. Combo wings are all the rage nowadays. Jackson, at 6’8″ has the ability to play small forward, power forward and even some shooting guard. He averaged 16.3 points, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game while putting down 37.8 percent of his three-pointers during his lone season at Kansas. His off-the-bounce playmaking still needs some work, but he’s a tenacious defender—a potentially better plug-and-play option than Ball or Fultz.
As for whether he’ll actually go No. 1, that all depends on which team wins the lottery.
Then again, the three most likely options—the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics—can justify any selection. All of which should leave us in the dark for another two-and-a-half months.
Fun, fun, fun.