This draft is plenty heavy on point guards and there’s plenty of fringe first-rounders to be analyzed. But, with guys like Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker almost assured of a top-10 selection, there is tons of talent left floating between the mid-lottery and into the second round.
Two of these such “tweener” guards are Reggie Jackson of Boston College and the lesser known, Charles Jenkins from Hofstra. Both point guards are seen as athletic freaks in the eyes of NBA scouts and there is even lottery whispers sprouting up on both guys, mainly due to their potential.
Now, not much is known about the Hofstra product, Jenkins, but he’s got a lot of upside and is firmly on the first round bubble due to a stellar career, averaging close to 20 points and 4.5 assists per game. Meanwhile, Jackson was performing on a much more prominent stage nightly, playing against some of the country’s best teams. The Eagles guard broke out during his junior season, averaging 18 points and 5 assists per, while showing off his drool-worthy athleticism and newly honed ball skills.
The two prospects present much of the same for NBA teams, with a combination of athleticism and instant offense in the back court. In fact the two prospects are so closely rated that ESPN NBA Analyst, Chad Ford, has them rated as the 24th (Jackson) and 26th (Jenkins) prospects respectively on his big board.
Let’s see how the players break down comparatively:
Charles Jenkins, Hostra
What He Brings: In a word, everything. Charles Jenkins is a strong (6’3, 220lbs) combo guard with excellent scoring ability (22 ppg) and has the tools to transition into a solid drive and dish point guard. Jenkins is also very unselfish and possesses an impressive assist/turnover ratio. In addition, he is also an excellent defender. With his long arms and good anticipation, he forces a good amount of steals (1.7 SPG). Jenkins may have been under the radar this season, but he shouldn’t have been. Jenkins put up big numbers (22 ppg 5 apg), and led Hofstra to a third place finish (ahead of VCU) in one of the most underrated conferences in the country (the CAA).
Now, Reggie Jackson comes from a bigger conference, bigger school and it may be tempting to suggest that he offers more as a player than Jenkins. But let’s look at the numbers. In the biggest games of BC’s season, Jackson often came up short. Whether it was the mid season losses to Florida State (13 pts, 3 TOs), Duke (7pts, 3 TOs), North Carolina (6 pts 3 TOs), or the blowout loss to Clemson in the ACC tournament (11 pts, 6 TOs), this was a disturbing trend by Jackson who often padded his stats against inferior competition such as a bad Wake Forest team.
Conversely, Jenkins was consistent the entire season and often had his best games against top competition (such as a 24 point game in the Dean Dome). Furthermore, Jenkins never scored in the single digits or had more than four turnovers in any game throughout the entire 2010-2011. The pick here is clearly Jenkins.
Possible Landing Spots: Portland Trailblazers (21st), Houston Rockets (23rd), New Jersey Nets (27th), Chicago Bulls (28th or 30th).
Ideal fit: If I am Jenkins, I am holding a quiet vigil at the United Center, praying that I am drafted by the Chicago Bulls. It is the perfect fit. Jenkins will thrive in the Bull’s transition offense led by Derrick Rose. Furthermore, except for Derrick Rose, and maybe Luol Deng, no one on the Bulls can score. As a result, a starting spot at the two, or at the very least quality minutes off the bench, are there for the taking. Rose cannot be expected to score 40 points in every playoff game in order for the Bulls to win. With Jenkins on the team, he won’t have to.
Reggie Jackson, BC
What He Brings: Jackson is an absolute freak athletically and has tons of raw talent that could be molded into All-Star caliber if crafted properly.
The young Jackson exploded onto the ACC scene during his freshman season, with a few outrageous dunks and a some scoring sprees, at least when given some burn on the court. That breakout campaign was followed up by great expectations during his sophomore season and the lengthy guard didn’t disappoint. Jackson proved his critics wrong, showing off his all-around skill level with an average of 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists on the year.
It was Jackson’s junior campaign (18 ppg, 4.5 apg) that saw him leap into the first round discussion and gain the attention of the national media. The 21-year old was throwing up outrageous numbers for the first half of the season, averaging near 22 points and 6 assists through 20 games. A trek through the ACC’s top teams saw Jackson struggle and had critics questioning how his game would translate to the NBA, but a strong finish to the year and continual flashes of that offensive juggernaut had scouts drooling once again.
As a first-team All-ACC selection and All-America snub, Reggie had his fair share of advocates heading into the Draft but it’s been his stellar workouts that has teams considering him in the lottery even.
His unparalleled athleticism and incredible jumping ability should be enough to see Jackson go in the first round, but it’s his raw offensive skills that could see Jackson become not just a starter but a star for a franchise for year down the road. Playing against NBA level talent on a consistent basis, which Jenkins didn’t, and finding his way through adversity should be enough for a team to take a chance on Jackson early. With the right coach and a good situation, Jackson should take the NBA by storm and we could be looking at an All-Sta in just a few years.
Possible Landing Spots: Indiana Pacers (15th), NY Knicks (17th), Houston Rockets (23rd), Dallas Mavericks (26th), New Jersey Nets (27th), Chicago Bulls (28th).
Ideal fit: With his unbelievable athletic ability, Jackson could arguably go anywhere and fans will be happy, but it’s not about the fans rather the opportunity for success. Jackson should be crossing his fingers that he lands in either New York or New Jersey, as he would have the unique opportunity to learn behind superstars like Chauncey Billups or Deron Williams. But, I say New York is the best fit for the speedy guard. A chance to watch Billups everyday and to run D’Antoni’s fast paced offense might be the best way for Jackson to establish himself as an elite guard in this league.