For the Oklahoma City Thunder, it is time to find some weapons in the upcoming NBA Draft. OKC currently has one pick in the first round at No. 21, and hopes to find a steal. With less than two weeks remaining until the 2017 NBA Draft, we will look at some prospects that might fit with the Thunder.
Today, our focus is on talented University of North Carolina forward, Justin Jackson.
Jackson, a 6’8” product by way of Texas, led the Tar Heels in scoring last season, averaging 18.4 points per game on 51 percent shooting. In 32.2 minutes per game, he also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game. Jackson was named ACC Player of the Year and led the Tar Heels to a National Championship win over Gonzaga.
Jackson was also named a Consensus First Team All-American and a Naismith Award Semifinalist last season. He finished the 2016-17 season leading the ACC in games played (40), points (731), field goals (264) and finished second in 3-point field goal percentage (37%). Jackson seems ready to carry his success at UNC to the NBA.
The Thunder have been missing one huge aspect since the loss of Kevin Durant, a second-scoring option. With how the NBA is played today, there is a need to have an immense amount of scoring on the floor. You need to be able to get 15-20 points from just about anyone on the floor. The problem for the Thunder is that they lacked scoring depth last season.
Another interesting thing is Jackson’s build. If you watch the highlighted reel attached in this piece, Jackson has a game similar to Kevin Durant. They both are tall, lanky and have an innate ability to score the basketball. They both excelled in college and are built for modern up-tempo success.
The only issue for the Thunder is that Jackson may not be on the board for the No. 21 pick. His ability to make an early splash in the league will have teams looking at him earlier in the first round.
But if he is available, I don’t see a better fit for the Thunder in this year’s draft.