As the Oklahoma City Thunder begin to rebuild their roster they now are granted the roster flexibility to take on low risk high reward projects. An interesting flyer is Justin Jackson. The former first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft has yet to live up to the hype set before him as he was selected 15th overall in the 2017 Draft.
Jackson got his professional career started with the Sacramento Kings for two seasons. The UNC product spent his time in both the G-League and the NBA. In his rookie year, he played 68 games in the NBA, and in his second season, he played 52 in the NBA. Jackson averaged around 20-22 minutes and scored just under seven points per game with the Kings. After Jackson’s second year concluded, he was traded along with Zach Randolph to the Mavericks for Harrison Barnes.
Justin Jackson spent two years with the Mavericks. He earned around 16-18 minutes per game in the two seasons while still averaging just under seven points per game. After Jackson’s time with the Mavericks, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal involving the Detroit Pistons.
If there is any year for Jackson to breakout, the 2020-21 NBA season is the one for him to do so. Jackson will likely be coming off the bench for the Thunder and should play around 18-22 minutes per game to start off the season, but Jackson will certainly have the opportunity to prove himself and gain minutes in a Thunder rebuild year.
For Jackson, he saw his 3-point numbers dip a year ago shooting the three ball at just a 29 percent a clip, down from his 32 percent career average. That has to improve in the 2020-21 season if he hopes to remain in the NBA.
The Thunder organization will give Justin Jackson every chance to live up to the hype around the former-15th overall pick with OKC Thunder GM, Sam Presti, noting that the Thunder will not take into account anything he has done at his previous stops. Presti wants to judge Justin Jackson based on what he does within the Thunder walls, not at other organizations.