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This Demetrius Jackson NBA Draft profile takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the 21-year-old guard.
Demetrius Jackson – 6’1″ Guard, Notre Dame, 21 years old
Demetrius Jackson is a 6’1″, 195 pound junior guard from the University of Notre Dame. Jackson was the best player on a Notre Dame team that reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament this past year. His outstanding season saw Jackson get Second-Team All-ACC honors. A quick and agile guard, he is capable of getting shots off over bigger defenders as well as being an excellent creator for others. Despite his small size, he is a solid primary ball defender, which could prove invaluable to a team in the NBA if they are trying to change the pace of the game. Draft Express has Jackson going in the late first round or early second round of the draft. He could provide good value as a second or third string point guard who defends the opposing point guard full court and pushes the tempo.
Although Jackson is a rather diminutive guard, he is ultra-athletic. Despite his small size, he can score at an NBA level, posting nearly 16 points per game in his junior year. Possessing elite quickness and a low center of gravity, he is able to beat most players off the dribble with sheer speed alone. Jackson is also very adept at changing speeds to keep the defense off balance. Combine this with a strong handle and he can sometimes be unstoppable when he wants to get to the rim.
When he gets to the rim, Jackson is an impressive finisher with either hand, averaging 1.3 points per shot at the rim. Able to explode off of one foot or two, he finishes over lanky defenders. Because of his powerful frame, he was able to finish 53 percent of his 2-point shots. That’s an impressive statistic for a player who barely scratches 6’0 without shoes on. His explosiveness is so impressive that he is even capable of catching lobs when making baseline cuts. This is helped by the fact that he has a 6’5″ wingspan.
Possessing solid shooting mechanics, Jackson uses his supreme athleticism to stop on a dime and rise up or create space for step-back shots. His three-point percentage dropped significantly from his sophomore to his junior year. There is widespread belief among NBA general managers that he could develop into a solid shooter at the professional level. Jackson is a career 38 percent shooter from behind the arc, and that number would be higher if not for his dreadful 33 percent shooting season.
His drop in efficiency is most likely linked to the loss of Jerian Grant to the NBA. While Grant was at Notre Dame, Jackson was able to play off the ball and get open shots created for him by an outstanding playmaker in Grant. Without Grant, Jackson had to become the primary ball handler at all times for the Irish. This would cause him to tire much quicker than in his sophomore year, which was reflected in his jumpshot late in games. Jackson would often miss his jumpshots shots short as the game progressed, a sign that he was tiring. He still proved deadly with the ball in his hands, forcing opponents to go over screens or risk his pull-ups from beyond NBA range.
The biggest issue with Demetrius Jackson is finding him a role on an NBA roster. While it has previously been mentioned that he is an elite athlete, there are still questions about his height and size. That is not to say that short, strong point guards cannot succeed in the NBA; being short just makes success that much harder. At only 6’1″, Jackson is limited him to solely guarding other point guards. This makes him rather one dimensional on the defensive end of the floor. Despite the fact that he is capable of picking up full court and harassing other guards, Jackson would often fall asleep when he was supposed to be playing help defense, or he’d allow easy penetration. NBA general managers will hope that this is because of how hard he had to work as a shot creator on the offensive end, tiring him out on defense. If Jackson does not show a willingness to be a pest and a ball hawk defensively, he will most likely struggle to find minutes in the NBA.
There are a few question marks about Jackson on offense to accompany those of his defense. While there is no doubt that he is a talented scorer with the ball, there are issues with his decision making. There is a reason that Jerian Grant played a large share of point guard minutes in Jackon’s sophomore year. Jackson lacks point guard instincts, as he only averaged four assists per game in his junior season. He would often go for the highlight reel play or force up difficult shots. These decision making issues will need to be rectified if Jackson wishes to play meaningful minutes in his first NBA season.
NBA Potential and Player Comparison
Demetrius Jackson screams bust potential due to his lack of size and questionable decision making. He has lottery pick talent in a second round pick body. Because of this, he is pegged to go in the mid to late first round, but do not be surprised to see him slip a little bit. Draft Express has Jackson slotted for the 26th overall pick, which would be a fair assessment of his talent. His saving grace is how comfortable he is when he is away from the ball, something that most small guards are unaccustomed to. Because of this rare ability, he could be successful with a bigger, pass first guard sharing the ball handling duties. A perfect example of this backcourt would be on the Orlando Magic with Elfrid Payton or Victor Oladipo. Jackson is the type of player to come off the bench and change the pace of the game – either by picking up the primary ball handler full court defensively, or pushing the pace on offense. Jackson is a much more offensively talented version of Patrick Beverley, with less defensive tenacity.