The 2021 NBA draft will take place Thursday, July 29 with the Detroit Pistons holding the No. 1 pick. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic round out the top five selections.
We take a look at some of the prospects available in this draft, gauge their strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparisons and best landing spot within the player’s projected draft range. Here’s a breakdown for Kentucky big man Isaiah Jackson.
Jackson eliminates shots at the rim consistently. Kentucky struggled mightily this season but Jackson was a bright spot for the Wildcats defensively. The big man is also a strong rebounder who can navigate the paint well to secure boards. His athleticism is also a positive and his development curve is great at 19.
Jackson is a non-shooter and while that’s not a huge problem, it limits his upside. He’s also not a great creator offensively, meaning he’s likely to be limited to lobs and pick n’ roll action rather than meaningful sets. Jackson’s on-ball defense doesn’t quite measure up to his shot-blocking abilities yet.
Former Kentucky big Nerlens Noel is a good comparison for Jackson. Jonathan Isaac is another player who comes to mind when watching Jackson on the floor. Both are emerging as strong defenders and shot blockers in the league, something the young big can immediately help a team with.
Best Landing Spot
Jackson is expected to be a late first-round pick but could slide into the early second round if teams feel there are better immediate contributors available. The Denver Nuggets could use rim protection on the second unit and the Los Angeles Clippers might also need a secondary big man. Both teams would be great fits for Jackson.