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Suns rookie Josh Jackson draws high praise from a league scout

Phoenix Suns' Josh Jackson grabs a rebound next to Sacramento Kings' Jack Cooley during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Going into the NBA Summer League, expectations were very high for the Suns’ fourth overall pick Josh Jackson.

Touted as one of the best two-way players in the draft, Jackson put his skills on full display in Vegas, averaging 17.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in his five Summer League games.

His offense was evident, but it was his defense that drew the most praise from a league scout that Sporting News’ Sean Deveney spoke to.

“You can do anything with this guy defensively. He can guard four positions. He has instincts, he can swallow up shooting guards with his length and his athleticism, but he is strong enough to handle 4s. His ability to get to the basket is terrific, but the way he can switch off anyone and still handle himself defensively, that is going to change things for the Suns.”

 

Jackson’s defensive versatility should improve a Suns team that ranked dead last in opponent points per game last season, giving up an average of 113.3 points a game.

The downside of Jackson’s “NBA debut” however was his shot. That same scout thinks Jackson may need to go in a different direction with his stroke.

“He won’t be able to live off athleticism on the offensive end in the NBA. He needs to completely rebuild his shot, I think. He is young enough that you can break him down and rebuild his jumper and probably do it pretty quickly.”

Jackson didn’t let his poor jumper hold him back from taking an open three though, attempting 16 shots behind the arc, while putting in just three.

The Suns obviously hope that Jackson’s shot will come around, but time will tell if that is just going to take more shots in the gym or a completely new jumper.

But whether his jumper is working or not, Jackson still finds a way to score and make his presence known on both ends of the floor.

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