As the Milwaukee Bucks gear up for the 2023-24 NBA season, a wave of excitement is cresting around rookie Andre Jackson Jr. Though he's yet to debut in the regular season officially, Jackson has already garnered a cult-like following, convincing many that he's poised to make a splash in the Bucks' rotation.
During his stints in the NBA Summer League and ongoing preseason, Jackson has turned heads, flashing undeniable potential. His performance has prompted this writer to delve into what could be the hot takes of the Bucks' upcoming season—teaser alert—and Jackson's name reverberated throughout.
Fan submissions weighed in, proclaiming, "Andre Jackson is our best young player," and suggesting he's "important enough to see playoff minutes." Some even say, "AJJ is more crucial to the team than Marjon this year." While some may argue this is merely fan-led hype, it's noteworthy that NBA analysts are equally bullish on the young talent.
In a recent social media post on the platform formerly known as Twitter, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic echoed the growing sentiment: "Was my favourite player in college hoops last year. One of the best basketball processors in this class at real, dynamic speed."
So, what makes Jackson a game-changer for the Bucks? Last season saw Milwaukee sorely lacking in athletic wings specialising in defense—specifically, those above 6-foot-5.
Enter Jackson: a 6-foot-6 versatile wing who plays defence as naturally as he breathes. With last year's defensive stalwarts Wesley Matthews and Jrue Holiday no longer on the roster, the onus falls on Jackson among others to fill the void.
He may not have the court-savvy of veterans like Jae Crowder or Malik Beasley, but Jackson's raw skills indicate a bright future as a formidable defender. Though the season ahead is pegged as a developmental phase for Jackson, it wouldn't be far-fetched to imagine him thrust into critical situations.
Bucks' Coach Adrian Griffin, renowned for player development, could be the catalyst to accelerate Jackson's progress. If Jackson can shore up the defensive lapses while his offensive skills mature, the Bucks may find they've struck gold.