The Celtics selected Notre Dame point guard Demetrius Jackson with the No. 45 pick in the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night.
Jackson averaged 15.8 points, 4.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 36.0 minutes per game for the Fighting Irish last season, his junior year with the team. He was an integral part of Notre Dame’s attack for two seasons, as he helped his team reach consecutive Elite Eights.
Considered one of the most dynamic athletes in the draft, Jackson is a natural point guard. He’s a great ballhandler, and he distributes the ball well.
Strengths: Jackson is one of the most explosive athletes in the draft. He boasts a 6’5” wingspan and 43.5” vertical—the fourth-highest ever recorded at the NBA draft combine. He is a natural point guard, but he also has shown an ability to be a combo guard. In 2014–15, he and Jerian Grant effectively split point guard duties between them, and that skill set and selflessness is something that NBA teams value highly. He is lightning quick and relishes opportunities to drive to the rim. On top of that, his best asset is his ballhandling. His small frame keeps his dribbling low and tight and prevents him from coughing up the ball too often. His high assist rate is evidence of his abilities as a distributor.
Weaknesses: Despite his athleticism, Jackson is just 6’1”—decidedly short in the modern NBA. He is still developing as a point guard, and he never was given the keys to the offense in the same way that Jerian Grant had before him. He can be a very disruptive defender, but like many elite offensive players, he doesn’t give consistently great effort on that end of the floor. As the focal point of Notre Dame’s attack last year, his three-point percentage dropped from 42.9% to 33.1% and his field-goal percentage dipped from 50.8% to 45.1%.