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Watson: With shot, Jackson ‘becomes elite on Kawhi Leonard’s level’

(AP Photos)
LISTEN: Earl Watson, Suns head coach

The comparisons from players in the draft process to legends or stars in the league get thrown around a lot.

But that’s primarily done by media members trying to give fans a hint or clue as to how good a prospect can be, if they are patient enough to wait for the process.

Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson didn’t hesitate, however, to highlight a skill first-round pick Josh Jackson needs to work on, and what will happen if he does.

“If we turn that shot into something special, I think he becomes elite on Kawhi Leonard’s level, so it’s an amazing opportunity for our coaching staff, and every way possible we’re going to try to figure that out,” Watson told Burns and Gambo on 98.7 F.M. Arizona’s Sports Station Friday.

The Suns chose Jackson with the fourth overall pick on Thursday.

Jackson will bring the team what any team would want that’s serious about winning: effort and defense.

Watson said that he has a “very high motor, a lot of toughness, you can’t really put a ceiling on him.”

He showed off his potential with his versatility during his lone year at Kansas, and at 6-foot-8 and 207 pounds, Jackson can guard multiple positions on the perimeter.

During a conference call Thursday, Jackson said he’s ready to guard the best player on any team, whether it be Paul George, Kevin Durant, or even LeBron James.

Pairing him with a primary starter on the Suns in T.J. Warren who is more known for his offense than defense will be the next challenge for Watson to figure out.

“Warren and Jackson can obviously finish games together because Josh can guard any position,” Watson said. “So the guy who is an amazing defender, we also know he’s a great passer running the pick-and-roll. And in transition, he’s more than just a defender, he’s highly skilled.”

Now it’s up to the Suns’ coaching staff to improve his jump shot, just like Leonard was able to improve his. When he entered the NBA out of San Diego State, he was known as a great defender, not a shooter.

If this seems like a random shot in the dark of a comparison, think again. Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts told Doug and Wolf Friday morning that Jackson is a mix of two NBA players in particular: Leonard and George.

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