In advance of the 2017 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down a wide variety of players that could be available for the Atlanta Hawks at either No. 19 or No. 31. The series will stretch throughout the month of June and today’s installment evaluates Duke guard Frank Jackson.
If a team is drafting on athleticism alone, Frank Jackson would be very high on that team’s draft board. Jackson dominated the athletic testing portion of the recent NBA Draft Combine. He is still lacking in some spots, but Jackson is not lacking in the slightest in those areas that inspire the quote, “You can’t teach X.”
Jackson is just barely 19 years old, so teams will be working to determine how much skill development they can reasonably project with the talented guard. He does not have the ideal size to play at the shooting guard position, but he is definitely not a point guard right now.
Jackson has a strong and quick first step when attacking in dribble penetration. He is just good enough of a dribbler to work his way past mediocre defenders but can be turnover prone when dealing with pressure, especially from a bigger opponent. Like a lot of athletes, he is at his best in transition but more so as a finisher than a creator.
Jackson basically played in a three-guard rotation during his one season at Duke, thus he was very much deployed as a combo guard. He prefers to work in isolation when he is the primary facilitator on the floor. He is not even close to being ready to run a pick and roll at the NBA level. But he does demonstrate a plus ability to play off the ball. He moves well and has great instinct and feel for how to leverage space. His jump shot is a thing of beauty and should be very easily extended to the NBA 3-point line.
When operating in isolation in the half court offense, Jackson is decent at being able to create his own shot. But he is about as much of a non-passer as you are going to see in a back court prospect.
Jackson’s athleticism should be a foundation from which to build at least a solid defensive game. Right now, though, he seems to be a single position defender (point guard) which means that he would have to be deployed with just the right back court partners to be projected to get any regular playing time at the next level.
Currently, he is pretty much a complete zero on the defensive end of the court, even if you see the projection. Jackson struggles to work through screens and often is unable to stay in front of players you would think he would be able to handle. All of the raw skills are there so this very likely just comes down to fundamentals and discipline.
Fit for the Atlanta Hawks
Jackson is one of the prospects that I find it tougher to assess in terms of fit. The team needs more offensive skill and especially offensive creation but he is a long way from being ready to offer either of those. In the same breath, the Hawks also need shooting and have a strong player development track record. So, from that angle you could see some potential appeal.
If this is to be a potential match at all, I am going to guess that the Hawks like his personality and work ethic and that they would project him into the 16th or 17th roster spot and a two-way contract that has him spending a lot of time at the G-League level.
Historically, Duke players don’t commit to the draft unless they get some pretty positive feedback as they go through the NBA Draft Prospect evaluation process. So there must be some amount of real interest in Jackson as a prospect. He certainly has a ton of athleticism to go along with a very good perimeter shot. But his lack of positional versatility could impact where in the draft he will end up being selected.