At 6’11, 240 pounds (give or take), Jaren Jackson Jr. is an athletic marvel. The Memphis Grizzlies’ rookie big man was the #4 pick in last June’s draft and has already paid dividends for the surprising 13-8 Grizzlies. Jackson is averaging 13.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 2 bpg on 52% shooting from the field, and 36% from three. His per 36 numbers are 19.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and 2.8 bpg. In short, dude is a monster and he’s only 19 years old. So, it’s safe to assume he’ll likely get better and he could wind up being the best big man from that loaded 2018 draft class.
On Friday, Jackson and the Grizzlies were in Brooklyn to take on the Nets, and he finished with 36 points and 8 rebounds. Including a 4 point play to pull his squad to within three with 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the game-tying three to force overtime. The Grizzlies left Brooklyn with a win in double overtime and Jackson notched a career high in points. Following the game, I asked Nets guard D’Angelo Russell if he was surprised by Jackson’s play. Russell told BSO, “No. That dude is special…”
Prior to the game, BSO spoke to the rookie and we discussed a variety of topics. He is a very confident young man and looks like he wants to be great. He discussed the importance of being drafted by a team with a winning culture and how he’s always played for winning teams.
Jackson is the prototypical big man for the “new NBA” and he talks about his affinity for shooting from beyond the arc and the importance of spacing on the floor.
We wrap our conversation discussing hip-hop and the latest Meek Mill album Championships. Jackson talks about whether or not Jay-Z and Rick Ross killed their verses on “What’s Free” and why Jay-Z still resonates with young guys like himself. Jackson also gives us some insight into what he’s currently listening to and a rapper everyone should check out.
Flip the page for my conversation with Jaren Jackson Jr.