Grading the pick: How analysts view Pacers’ addition of Isaiah Jackson in NBA Draft

·2 min read

The Indiana Pacers ended up with the 22nd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft via trade and are the destination for Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson. Here is how several draft analysts view the former UK forward and how he’ll fit in with his new team:

B+

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Kyle Boone: “He’s certainly more defense than offense, more athleticism than skill. But he’s so gifted on that end with blocking shots, that he still has to learn some things on the defensive side, too. That said, he’s got things you can’t teach with all that physical talent.”

B-

Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy: “… He could progress into an elite frontcourt defender. He gets off his feet so quickly and reads shooters so well. It seemed unlikely that minutes would be there early in his career in LA, as the Lakers focus on winning another title. Which is why it makes sense they would trade the pick away to the Pacers.”

B-

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell: “Jackson is a super bouncy big man who can finish plays above the rim on both ends. On the offensive end, he projects as a lob threat who can get put-backs after hitting the glass. … We prefer a center prospect with superior passing and shooting ability, but this is still a decent pick.”

C

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley: “If he can add some heft to his 206-pound frame without sacrificing mobility, Jackson might have some All-Defensive honors in his future. As it is, he’s already an active shot eraser with the lateral quickness to defend on the perimeter. … Jackson is a good prospect, but the fit is hard to figure out. The Pacers were already overcrowded on the interior with Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and Goga Bitadze. This feels like a stay-tuned situation.”

C+

SI.com’s Jeremy Woo: “Jackson is an elite run-jump athlete, but his basketball skills are a work in progress. … If all goes well, he could eventually supplant Myles Turner at center, and allow them to play faster. Jackson was a bit polarizing among scouts, and he’s not my favorite fit here, but the pick makes some sense for the Pacers.”

C+

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor: “Jackson has a long way to go before he can become a high-level contributor in the NBA. He is an excellent athlete, but his fundamentals, awareness, and strength must improve for him to make an impact with the Pacers.“

C+

Dime’s Brad Rowland: “In general, bigs with Jackson’s skill set are relatively replaceable. Still, this is the point of the draft where it starts to be defensible to take Jackson, and he is an intriguing athlete that could be a starting-caliber center in the future. … Jackson wouldn’t have been my pick, but it’s generally fine.”

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