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Jaren Jackson Jr. says he doesn’t feel any pressure after promising rookie season

Jaren Jackson Jr.

It could be argued that the Memphis Grizzlies are already set on giving the keys to the franchise to prized rookie Jaren Jackson Jr.

However, after recently concluding a very promising rookie campaign, the 19-year-old expressed that he does not feel the heavy load of the expectations that many have so quickly set on him.

“I don’t feel pressure, really,” said Jackson, the fourth overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft, via Michael Wallace of NBA.com. “If there is any pressure there, you’ve got to embrace it, because that’s what it comes with. My work ethic will speak for itself. I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing.”

Jackson did not exactly light up the box scores in his debut season — averaging 13.8 points (on 50.6 percent shooting), 0.9 three-pointers, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.4 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 26.2 minutes of play — but it is unquestionable that he has shown a lot of promise.

In fact, his rapid development is what may have pushed the Grizzlies to move on from former cornerstone big man Marc Gasol, as they traded the three-time All-Star to the Toronto Raptors on deadline day. It is highly likely that Memphis have already eyed Jackson as their big man of the future, giving them the right amount of incentive to ship off Gasol.

However, his role for the team moving forward is not yet clear at this point, according to Jackson himself.

“I’ll talk with coaches about my role and responsibility, that’s based on the makeup of our team next (season),” said Jackson. “When that conversation happens, I’ll be able to tell y’all what’s going on. But for now, I’m just working on my game.”

The Grizzlies are in a rebuilding phase right now, and with Jackson at the center of the overhaul, it does seem like the future is quite bright for the franchise.