Should the San Antonio Spurs trade for Josh Jackson?
By Andrew Ites
Young Phoenix Suns swingman Josh Jackson is reportedly on the trade market. Should the San Antonio Spurs try making a move for him?
The San Antonio Spurs don’t have a ton of financial flexibilty to make a big splash in free agency this summer, but they could be active in the trade market if the right deal comes along.
That right deal could involve Josh Jackson if the Suns are willing to give him up for the right price.
Jackson has been a disappointment on the court after Phoenix took him with the fourth overall pick two years ago.
The former Kansas Jayhawk has a career true shooting percentage of just 48.3% while hitting only 29.4% of his threes. And he hasn’t lived up to his potential on the defensive end either as he has finished 68th and 83rd among small forwards in defensive real plus-minus during his first two years in the league.
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Jackson was recently arrested at a music festival in Miami, and that may be the final straw for a Suns front office that wasn’t in place when they drafted him in 2017.
Phoenix sports talk show host John Gambodoro is reporting that the Suns will try to trade Jackson this offseason, and he also mentioned that the Knicks and Kings are among the interested teams.
Josh Jackson has a few flaws that the Spurs have a history of being able to work with: questionable character, defensive discipline, and outside shooting.
Gregg Popovich usually likes to acquire guys who already have high character, but he’s won championships with players like Stephen Jackson in the past, so he may be willing to work with a player with Josh Jackson’s level of talent.
Pop also has a history of getting players to defend well when they hadn’t shown that ability yet in their NBA careers.
Pop’s formula of avoiding personal fouls has helped many different players like Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Pau Gasol become good defenders within the Spurs’ scheme.
Finally, getting to work with San Antonio shooting coach Chip Engelland would do wonders for Josh Jackson’s jump shot.
Jackson does have a pretty ugly release, but he showed flashes of outside shooting prowess in college where he shot 37.8% on 2.6 three-point attempts per game. It would take some hard work on Jackson’s part, but Engelland could help him turn his jump shot around just like he did with Kawhi Leonard years ago.
The Spurs have a promising group of young players in Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, and Jakob Poeltl, but they don’t have any true forwards amongst that group. Jackson could be the missing piece if he gets his act together and figures out some sort of jump shot.
We don’t know what Phoenix is looking for in a deal, but they won’t have a ton of leverage after reportedly putting him on the trading block.
The Spurs may be able to get off of Patty Mills’ contract in a deal with the Suns, and he would be a good offensive fit with Devin Booker in Phoenix’s backcourt.
San Antonio might have to give up one of their first round picks in this year’s draft to get a deal done, but this is supposed to be a pretty thin draft class and that would be a fair price to acquire a former top-four pick like Jackson.
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Phoenix is not a healthy environment for young players to develop, and we’ve seen another victim of the Suns’ struggles in Josh Jackson.
If the Suns aren’t asking for a ridiculous price and the Spurs can offload Patty Mills in a deal, I’d be willing to take a chance on Jackson’s talent.