Before the 2023-24 NBA season even began, Milwaukee Bucks fans were hopping on the hype train for rookie wing Andre Jackson Jr.
The second round pick possessed plenty of attributes that made him an intriguing addition to this team, and in the early going of the season, he's flashed incredible potential when given the chance. Though it's a rather small sample size, the Bucks may have a special player on their hands.
Milwaukee Bucks rookie Andre Jackson Jr. is blossoming before the fanbase's eyes
On paper, Jackson's numbers are not earth-shattering. In 20 appearances, he's averaged 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game. Onlookers may wonder how a player with numbers like that could possibly be making an impact worth writing about, but what Jackson does goes far beyond a stat line.
Whenever Jackson is on the court, there's a sense of urgency and cranked-up energy. The rookie is constantly hustling for rebounds, getting out in transition, or pestering his opponents. He's been the definition of an energizer, giving the Bucks a much-needed spark whenever called upon. In the past, the Bucks, consistently one of the league's oldest teams, have lacked this type of youthful boost.
All of that is not to say that Jackson cannot put up good numbers when he does get legitimate time. Filling in as a starter for the sick Malik Beasley over the past two games, Jackson has averaged 31.1 minutes per game, and his numbers have been excellent. He's put up 9.5 points while knocking down 57.1 percent of his shots and 37.5 percent of his threes while tallying seven boards and 2.5 assists.
It's a small sample size, sure, but Jackson has shown over these past two games that he can perform when given the chance, doing a little bit of everything. Not only can he bring energy, but he's also an extremely good passer, great rebounder, and, to the surprise of many, a solid outside shooter, which was one of the big concerns surrounding him coming in.
Of course, Jackson has not been perfect. He's a rookie, so there are bound to be growing pains, which have come in the form of fouls. At times, he can be a tad too aggressive, such as these past two games, where he's had 10 personal fouls. It's something he'll have to work on, but that doesn't take anything away from how good he has been in every other regard.
Jackson's role and playing time have been hit or miss this season, but these past two games are a clear-cut sign that he needs to be in the mix for good. He's a legitimate sparkplug and can give an immediate boost whenever he checks in. The jury is still out on whether he can be the big wing defender this team needs, but the only way the answer will come is with playing time.
Whether Jackson is coming off the bench or starting, the wing can be a do-it-all player for the Bucks, and he's got the potential to develop into something special. For years, Bucks fans have wanted a young player in town to develop while helping contend for a championship, and though it's early, they may have that on their hands.
He's been improving seemingly with each passing performance, and the rookie's development could be a huge factor in Milwaukee's success down the line this season. The Bucks may have very well snagged a steal with the 44th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
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