Reggie Jackson, Boston College, Jr.- PG/SG
Overview: Jackson quietly had a break-out year in 2010-2011, averaging 18.2 ppg, 4.3 apg, and 4.5 rpg, and was the driving force behind a BC team who, quite frankly, overachieved by winning nine games in the ACC. Jackson is listed at 6’3″ but he plays much, much longer than that with a seven foot wingspan. I’ve seen people putting Jackson anywhere from the lottery to the mid-second round, which is a large product of people not seeing him play as BC flew under the radar for most of the year. The guy can really play, and as we move closer to the draft, expect Jackson to get some love as a sleeper.
Best Case: Jackson has the chance to be an above-average player at the next level because he is really the total package as a basketball player. He can handle the ball, he’s very athletic, he can shoot off the dribble because of his length, he can play without the ball, and he demonstrated this year that he can shoot the three. I see an ideal situation being Jackson narrowly misses getting picked in the lottery but goes to the Knicks at number 17. The Knicks decide not to pick up Chauncey Billups’ big-money option because they believe in Jackson’s ability to play both guard positions, and he delivers and becomes option number three on a contending team playing at MSG.
Worst Case: Jackson can’t really handle the NBA point guard position and is handcuffed as strictly a tweener two-guard. He slides a bit in the draft and a team that doesn’t really need another guard takes him on value alone. He doesn’t get the minutes he needs early and loses focus. Think Joe Forte, here. People forget that Forte was the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2000 and followed that up with an ACC Player of the Year award in 2001. He was a guy who was a 6’3″ shooting guard who proved that he couldn’t play both guard positions in the league, and that ended his career several years earlier than it could have gone.
Jackson is a different player than Forte was, though. He is much longer, for starters, and is a much better ball handler. Still, he needs to prove he can run the point at least for stretches of games at the next level. My ties to BC make this difficult to say, but I’d be absolutely shocked if he was back in Chestnut Hill next season. Not only is he already getting some love from the draft experts as a “sleeper”, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to come back to next season. He looked like he connected well enough with first-year head coach Steve Donahue, but don’t forget he came to BC for Al Skinner.
Chris Singleton, Florida State, Jr. – SF
Overview: Singleton is never going to be a team’s number one option on offense, but he brings a combination of size and athleticism that is coveted in the NBA. He has the potential to be one of the better defenders in the league if he brings the focus and passion of a professional. That intensity has been questioned with him before, though. Singleton really improved his shot this past season, but teams would probably like him to score inside more frequently. Still, a very good chance of being a first round pick, if not the lottery.
Best Case: Singleton wows teams in his workouts with his unbelievable athleticism and goes toward the end of the lottery to a team that has an established number one and two options on the offensive end. His coach understands how to motivate him and unleashes him on the defensive end and tells him not to worry about offense except for getting fast-break dunks and putbacks on the offensive boards, while he continues to work on his offensive game to at least become a reliable knockdown jump shooter. Singleton becomes a Durant-stopper because of his size and quickness, and his addition becomes a major reason that his team who was drafting in the lottery becomes a contender.
Worst Case: Singleton becomes the reincarnation of Al Thronton, who coincidentally also went to FSU as well. He doesn’t bring the same intensity every night and his basketball IQ doesn’t progress to an NBA level (much like Thornton). He isn’t a complete bust because teams give him a few too many chances hoping that he reaches his very high potential. His offensive game doesn’t improve like they hope it will, and his defensive game is slightly overhyped and can’t quite make up for his being lost on the offensive end. Singleton’s career will be an interesting one to follow.
Kyle Singler, Duke, Sr. – SF
Overview: Singler probably would have been drafted higher if he came out last year with his stock as high as it was ever going to get after Duke’s championship run. He had a solid senior season but his production was definitely cut into a bit with the arrival of Kyrie Irving, even though he only played a handful of games, and the emergence of Nolan Smith as a real offensive thought. At 6’8″ 230 pounds, Singler has pretty good size for an NBA swing man, but he’s not a great athlete. He’s right on the edge of not being quick enough to play the 3 but not big enough to play the 4.
Best Case: A veteran team recognizes Singler as an extremely smart and coachable player who will fit in well with their second unit because he plays hard and is an excellent mid-range shooter. He sneaks into the latter part of the first round and can play decent minutes right away because he can quickly pick up the offense and defensive principles. While he may never be a great on-ball defender, he plays good enough team defense that he can stay on the floor for 20-25 minutes per game when need be, and he carves out a nice little eight to ten year career and even wins a championship or two.
Worst Case: Singler draws too many Gordon Hayward-comparisons (Hayward was very underwhelming as a rookie) and slides down the draft board into the second round. He gets picked up by a young team and gets stuck behind younger, more athletic wing players with higher upsides. So often a guy’s career can be linked with what kind of fit he has with his team. Singler is going to be a guy who can be a productive player on the right team, but in the wrong situation we might not see him in the league for very long.