Chicago is reportedly looking at point guards in the upcoming draft. Derrick Rose is entering the final year of his contract and, it looks more and more like the Bulls will let their once beloved point guard walk. Rose and backcourt-mate Jimmy Butler both are better going to the basket than they are shooters, as they were under 40% on jump shots (Butler 34.4%, Rose 38%). Add to that an apparent lack of communication and unwillingness to even adapt to each other, and it's a problem.
The Bulls also failed to find a solid backup in free agency the past few years, including striking out on Marquis Teague in the draft a while back.
The Bulls have been linked to Kris Dunn, who Chicago would have to trade up to get, and Wade Baldwin IV. But there is another point guard in Demetrius Jackson from Notre Dame who could be an interesting pick for the Bulls at No. 14. He may not be exactly the perfect solution to the Bulls problems, but Jackson could offer some solidity to the backup point guard spot.
The good part about his game (DraftExpress video)
Standing at 6'1, Jackson is set to be one of the smaller guards in the NBA and that alone could scare off some teams. But Jackson compensates for that lack of height by being great at attacking the rim. Jackson possesses a quick first step that allows him to get past defenders with ease. Getting to the basket and finishing (1.3 Points per Posession) is the bread and butter of Jackson's game. He can also finish with contact as well, making him an even bigger threat in the paint. The Bulls were 22nd in the league when it came to points in the paint (41.0) and Jackson can certainly help increase that total.
His leaping ability is off the charts for a guy his size. At the NBA draft combine, Jackson's vertical leap measured in at 43.5 inches which is was the 4th highest total ever at the combine. The leaping ability also allows him to get up against big men when going to the basket and score over them. Thanks to this and a 6'5 wingspan, it allows Jackson to be an ok defender given his size.
Jackson didn't always play the point guard position at Notre Dame and played off the ball for much of the time until his senior year. It actually turned out to be a positive as it makes him a bigger offensive threat because he can play off the ball so well. Jackson can catch and shoot the ball pretty well, which sets him up as a pretty good option for a kick out opportunity. In a Bulls offense where it seems more and more like Jimmy Butler will be handling the ball, having a player that is used to being active on the offensive end without the ball is key. His three-point percentages have actually gone down throughout his three years at South Bend but he is still capable of knocking down shots.
The athleticism for Jackson makes him an exciting prospect. He can score in bunches and can also play off the ball, which helps the Bulls who love to play isolation basketball.
The bad part about his game (DraftExpress video)
Like mentioned earlier, Jackson is 6'1, which is small compared to other guards that he will likely match up against on defense. Even with the wingspan, it would still be a struggle for Jackson on the defensive end. Wingspan does help, as we see guys like Wade Baldwin IV with a huge wingspan that adds to their potential as defenders, but height also matters. His feet will help with staying with defenders but he will find difficulty when facing a point guard that can rise above and shoot over him. The height issue also makes him capable of only guarding the PG position.
Although Chicago will be running a lot of isolation plays with Butler and Rose commanding about 99% of those plays, Chicago will still run offensive sets in the half court. That raises questions about Jackson running an NBA offense. He has only played one year of point guard and shows some flaws when playing that position. The main flaws come in when it comes to playmaking and find guys off set plays like P&R. Jackson averaged around 4.7 assists per game, which ranks in one of the lower tiers in college basketball point guards. If he wants to be a real playmaker for the NBA, he has to get better at finding his teammates for open baskets.
How he fits with the Bulls
The Bulls need help at a lot of positions and one of them is a backup point guard. Aaron Brooks hasn't proved to be a consistent scorer or creator and the Bulls need to get younger at that position. Jackson could be that guy when it comes to creating plays with or without the ball.
A big knock on Derrick Rose was his unwillingness to play off the ball. Most of the time when we saw Rose hand the ball off to a big man at the top of the key or to Butler on the wing, he ran to the corner and stood there. You can count on your hand the number of times you saw Rose make a good backdoor cut or even attempted one. Him standing in the corner didn't do the Bulls any good considering that he shoots 28.3% from the left corner and 33.3% from the right corner.
The Bulls need a guy who can play off Butler and who can move off the ball and create problems for defenses. That's where Demetrius Jackson fits in. He would be a good option off the bench and his scoring, especially getting to the rim. If he develops correctly on defense it would make him an even better candidate considering his wingspan and crazy athleticism.
Jackson's height isn't the greatest and it will be a problem when he plays in the NBA, there is no doubt about that. But he makes up for it in a bunch of ways. The Bulls have a plethora of point guard options when it comes to this years draft class. It would not be surprising to see the Bulls go a different direction in terms of choosing a player like Baldwin IV over Jackson considering that Baldwin IV is a more versatile player. But with that being said, Jackson would bring a lot more scoring and could be an interesting fit for Chicago.