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New York Knicks Draft Watch: Small Forward Justin Jackson, North Carolina Tar Heels
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16 Jun 2017 04:47 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: North Carolina’s Justin Jackson slams home two points in National Championship Game. (Image Source: Getty Images)

Owners of the number eight overall selection, the New York Knicks will be picking in the top 10 of the NBA Draft for just the second time in the past eight years. The club is working out prospects, which we will continue to breakdown leading up to the draft. Today we take a look at former North Carolina Tar Heels swingman Justin Jackson, who worked out with the team on Tuesday.

Measurables: At 6’7” without shoes and 6’8 ¼” with shoes on, Jackson was among the longer small forward prospects at the NBA Draft Combine. He has a 6’11” wingspan and an 8’ 8 ½” standing reach, with 8 ¾” hand length and 9 ¼” hand width. His body needs some work as Jackson is very light in the pants at just 200.8 pounds and his 8.1 percent body fat is on the higher end for an NBA prospect.

In Chicago, Jackson flashed a 29 ½” standing vertical and a 35 ½” max vertical, about average at best for frontcourt player. His 10.80 lane agility time was the fourth best among forwards and in the shooting drills, Jackson proved to be one of the better corner shooters.

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Scouting Report: At North Carolina, Jackson was an excellent scorer, as well as a versatile shooter. He can score from midrange, has a soft touch in the painted area, and is very comfortable well beyond the three-point arc.

The Tar Heel is a smart player who more often than not takes high-quality shots, which allows him to be extremely efficient. He moves well without the ball and knows how to put himself in position to score. His high basketball IQ allows him to make intelligent and quick decisions with the basketball. He’s a solid passer and a ball mover, who keeps the offense flowing.

The ACC Player of the Year is coming off a strong junior season, which saw him win a national title and step up in big moments.

In addition to his offensive acumen, Jackson knows how to use his length to be disruptive on the defensive end of the court. More of a team defender than a lockdown one-on-one stopper.

Judging by his frame, Jackson could stand to put on some pounds and get stronger. His athleticism is considered average, which is why scouts view his potential as limited. Those limits extend to positions, because he lacks the girth to play the four and the explosiveness to handle shooting guard.

Need/Fit: He’s not a one-on-one player and will struggle to score if he needs to create for himself off the dribble, which could make New York the ideal landing spot for Jackson. His ability to move without the ball, cut to the basket, and spot up as a shooter to space the floor are skills that should translate well to the triangle offense. His ability to score and defend make him an intriguing small forward prospect for the Knicks as the franchise is probably beginning to plan for life without Carmelo Anthony at the three. The Knicks aren’t going to use the No. 8 pick on Jackson, but the word is Phil Jackson is trying to acquire an additional first-round choice, which they could use the UNC product.

Projection: Late First Round

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email:

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