EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Report: Former Suns F Josh Jackson to start season in G League

Sep 27, 2019, 9:33 AM | Updated: 9:37 am
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, left, prepares to shoot as Portland Trail Blazers forward Mauric...
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, left, prepares to shoot as Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless, center, and center Jusuf Nurkic, right, defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, March 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)
(AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)

The Phoenix Suns viewed Josh Jackson, the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, as a sunk cost. That’s why they included him in a salary-dump trade with the Memphis Grizzlies this summer.

It appears his new team also feels the once-promising prospect has quite a bit of work to do — and a lot to prove. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Jackson will begin the 2019-20 season on the Grizzlies’ G League squad, the Memphis Hustle.

Jackson will not even join the rebuilding Grizzlies in training camp, and Charania adds the decision is “designed for him to earn opportunity” with the Grizzlies.

On July 3, Phoenix traded Jackson, point guard De’Anthony Melton and two second-round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for veteran shooter Kyle Korver and second-year point guard Jevon Carter.

The Suns released Korver following the offseason transaction.

Phoenix general manager James Jones’ decision to move on from Jackson was one of several summer moves to reset the culture around a franchise building around stars Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.

Erratic play and erratic off-the-court behavior by Jackson led the Suns to move on at quite the cost.

Jackson was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and escape at a music festival in Florida back in May. He was later accused in Maricopa County Family Court of exposing his then-4-month-old child to marijuana, per court documents.

The 22-year-old additionally faced scrutiny during last season, when he skipped a public appearance that led to the Suns fining him.

And on the court, Jackson struggled.

He was benched as a rookie by interim coach Jay Triano. In his first two seasons, he averaged 12.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game in 156 appearances and 64 starts. But his poor decision-making, shooting percentages and team defense took their tolls: Jackson ranked last among 530 NBA players with -1.7 win shares, per Basketball-Reference.

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