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Jaren Jackson Jr. says he’s ‘locked in’ for rookie season

Jaren Jackson Jr.

The Memphis Grizzlies are hoping that Jaren Jackson Jr. is the type of player who can change the franchise’s fortunes. The fourth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft is exactly the type of long, athletic big man that can thrive in today’s game. Even better, it appears the highly-touted prospect out of Michigan State is already locked in.

JJJ will probably come off the bench to start the season, but he should be a big contributor all year for head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. Jackson is still 18-years-old (he turns 19 on Sept. 15), with sky-high potential.

Jackson had a good showing in Las Vegas during his summer league appearances. He averaged 11.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 40 percent from deep. We know Jackson should be able to develop a steady inside game, but if he’s knocking down threes anywhere near 40 percent, he’ll be a huge boost for the Grizzlies.

Of course, Summer League stats should not be taken out of context. They are far from the real thing and JJJ was 4-for-10 from deep in Las Vegas. These are small sample sizes, but it could be a taste of what Jackson will provide for Memphis in the future.

Memphis could be a dark horse to make the playoffs in the stacked Western Conference. They struggled mightily last season and fired David Fizdale midseason, but they were not nearly as bad as their record indicates. They lost Mike Conley early on in the season and following his injury, everything fell apart. If Bickerstaff has a healthy roster, and a locked in Jaren Jackson Jr., the Grizzlies could surprise everyone.