Gregory “GG” Jackson II is a 6-foot-9 freshman forward that played for the South Carolina Gamecocks. At 18 years old, GG Jackson is the youngest player in the draft class.
Gregory Jackson 2023 NBA Draft Profile
Jackson was initially committed to North Carolina but later decided to attend South Carolina instead. He was the top-ranked player in the 2023 class but was reclassified to become part of the 2022 class.
During his freshman year, Jackson averaged 15.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 blocks, and 0.8 steals on 38/32/68 shooting splits. At 18, GG led the Gamecocks in points, blocks, and steals. Unfortunately, South Carolina had little success on the season, finishing with an 11-21 record and 12th in the SEC.
Jackson has a solid combination of size and agility for a wing. The fact that he’s the youngest player in the draft suggests he has a ton of upside, given his age, size, and athleticism.
He’s already a good scorer, as evidenced by Jackson leading South Carolina in scoring. For his 6-foot-9 frame, Jackson has solid ballhandling and is good at creating space. His handles and quickness allow him to have good driving ability and get to the rim often. Off the ball, Jackson shows offensive potential too. He has all the tools to be a good slasher at the next level and is difficult to stop once he gains momentum.
Although he could be a better defender, Jackson possesses tools that suggest he has the upside to become one. His combination of agility and frame should be highly intriguing to teams on draft day. He could end up guarding the opposing team’s best wing. In addition, he’s versatile enough to switch to multiple positions.
Jackson is extremely young and was on a South Carolina team that didn’t have much success. As a result, it’s hard to differentiate what is a weakness of Jackson’s that will continue to be a problem at the NBA level as he matures.
For example, GG had poor shot selection as a freshman, shooting an inefficient 38 percent from the field. The question that NBA teams have to ask is whether this is teachable and whether Jackson can improve on what resulted from being young and on a team with few offensive options. Or, will this continue to be a problem, regardless of Jackson’s experience and the weapons around him?
Sure, GG was South Carolina’s leading scorer. But he doesn’t do much outside of scoring that will contribute to winning at the next level. He didn’t average more than one block or one steal a game and had a ton of defensive breakdowns. He’s not a playmaker that gets others involved, either. Jackson is great at creating space and getting to the rim, but he needs to improve his shooting and finishing ability.
The good news is that Jackson has much time and opportunity to improve these weaknesses. Nonetheless, they’re still weaknesses that teams will take into consideration. As a result, GG has one of the widest ranges of outcomes. His age, athleticism, and liabilities make him a high-risk, high-reward player.
NBA Player Comparison
Rui Hachimura. Rui had a ton of collegiate success with Gonzaga, ultimately becoming the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, it took time for him to develop as a go-to player at Gonzaga, not declaring for the draft until after his junior season. Jackson could have benefited from another college year to improve his weaknesses. Nonetheless, Jackson will be a first-round pick with a ton of upside.
He possesses many similar traits to Hachimura; Rui has a similar size and skill set as a 6-foot-8 forward who primarily contributes as a scorer. This past season, Hachimura averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists on 49/32/74 shooting splits.
Both players are currently one-dimensional as lengthy, athletic scorers that can rebound because of their height and athleticism. Hachimura is also still only 25 and still has room to develop. However, they need to become better outside shooters and playmakers. Still, they can impact ball games with their size, athleticism, and scoring ability.
Both possess defensive upside, given their frame and athleticism. If they can continue to develop, they can become versatile two-way players that can switch to multiple positions on defense.
As a prospect, Jackson has more upside as someone with more room to grow and develop aspects outside of scoring. He can potentially become a playmaker and defensive weapon but is still extremely raw. Teams must be patient with Jackson, but there’s no denying the upside.