Originally signed as a non-guaranteed camp contract that very few expected to make the final roster, Toronto Raptors wing Josh Jackson has been so excellent in the first few preseason games that he is starting to become a fan favorite. His chances of making the roster have never been higher.
Jackson, who helped key a 19-point comeback in Toronto’s overtime win against the Celtics, comes with more pedigree than most camp bodies. A former No. 1 recruit and No. 4 overall pick, Jackson has as much raw physical talent as any player on Toronto’s bench right now.
Jackson seems to be aware of the fact that his NBA options are starting to dry up, and making the roster in Toronto could help him tack an extra year or two onto his career. The former Kansas Jayhawk is going all-out on the floor in an effort to force his way into Nick Nurse’s plans.
Jackson said that he is an “unselfish guy” who is going to “come out here and give it everything I got” when he’s on the floor. Jackson’s effort and desire to make the team has not only been evident in his results on the floor, but it’s been reciprocated by a fanbase that has quickly taken a liking to him.
Will the Toronto Raptors keep Josh Jackson?
Jackson averaged 13.4 points during the 2020-21 season with the Detroit Pistons, but he saw his production ebb away last year. Rather than work with him on a team going nowhere fast, Jackson ended up in Sacramento and wilted away for the remainder of the season.
With Dalano Banton almost assuredly taking up one of the two vacant spots on the roster, Jackson will be left to compete with D.J. Wilson and Justin Champagnie for the final hole. Despite Wilson’s defense and Champagnie’s familiarity with the team, Jackson has made a very compelling case.
If Nick Nurse wants to prioritize athleticism and potential with that final spot, Jackson is clearly the top choice. His improved defensive effort has been a nice treat to see, as it shows that Nurse’s ability to instill sound principles on that end of the floor has not wavered.
After spending years mired on losing teams that were openly choosing to lose games for draft picks instead of contending for a championship, Jackson is finally on a playoff squad that just so happens to place a premium on young player development. The former No. 1 recruit may eventually find an NBA home.