The Toronto Raptors hit a grand slam at the 2021 NBA Draft when they added Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall selection. Almost a year later, he is the Rookie of the Year and his impact on the roster returned the Raptors to NBA Playoff contention after a one-year hiatus.
Masai Ujiri and his management team will now be focused on the next crop of young talent hoping to make their name in the NBA after his team lost a six-game series to the Philadelphia 76ers. The next talent Ujiri could add to bolster the roster in Toronto is Quenton Jackson, a 6-5 guard who played for Texas A&M.
Jackson averaged 14.8 points per game this season (mostly coming off the bench) but was the Aggies’ best scorer. His stat line includes a 49% field goal average, 34% success rate from deep, and 83% conversion free throws. His play led the Aggies to a 27-13 record in the SEC and the NIT final.
Jackson, a Second Team All-SEC performer, could help the Raptors in many ways. Ujiri and Bobby Webster are armed with a second-round draft pick at the 2022 NBA Draft. Jackson, a fifth-year senior and JUCO transfer, is expected to be selected late in the second round or go undrafted.
Two things the Ujiri-led Raptors have become masters at are finding talent late in the draft and signing quality undrafted prospects. Jackson is the type of player that could help the Raptors in many ways on the court.
Quenton Jackson makes sense for the Toronto Raptors.
Jackson could immediately bolster a Raptors’ bench that is short on scoring. The team was one of the NBA’s worst in terms of bench scoring and minutes played. Jackson could become a reliable scorer with the second unit if he brings his A&M stroke to the pros.
With Chris Boucher and Thad Young both free agents this summer and roster changes likely, a potential shakeup of the Raptors’ bench will come. Head coach Nick Nurse needs reliable options on the bench to lean on.
A February 22 game against Georgia in which he shot 11-11 in a win while scoring 31 points showed how lethal the stringy guard can be. It was only the second time in the school’s history a player took ten or more shots without a miss.
As for his defense, he is a 6-5 guard who averaged 1.8 steals a game for the Aggies. The Raptors are an aggressive defensive team on the perimeter, so his quick hands and speed match with what Toronto does on the court.
Even with Dalano Banton and Malachi Flynn in the fold, Nurse still felt the need to play Fred VanVleet 37.9 minutes per game. This led to him being hobbled by sore knees and eventually suffering a hip injury in the playoffs. VanVleet needs backcourt support, and Jackson could be the man to supply it.
Jackson, who is athletic and runs the floor well, has the blend of skills that Raptors’ management normally appreciates. At age 23, with five years of college ball behind him, Jackson’s experience is the kind of intangible quality that Ujiri appreciates in potential prospects.
There is a very long way to go until teams start selecting the next group of potential NBA stars in June. However, Jackson’s talents may fly under the radar because he didn’t play for a nationally ranked program. Even with that, diamonds in the rough like Jackson will help Toronto stay competitive and in the hunt come playoff season.