2011 NBA Mock Draft: Reggie Jackson to Celtics?

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The first draft profile goes to Reggie Jackson for the simple reason that there is a rumor floating that the Celtics have made a promise to Jackson to take him with the 25th pick.  We can trace this rumor back to Tommy Dee on the Knicks Blog:

Our spies have informed us that Celts exec Danny Ainge is so impressed with BC point guard Reggie Jackson that he’s already guaranteed the Celts will take him with the 25th pick in this year’s draft. Ainge personally was on hand for a number of Jackson’s game, and is a tremendous fan. The problem for the C’s is that Jackson’s stock is soaring and the thoughts from scouts everywhere is that he will be long gone by then meaning that Boston will have to trade up to select him.

“Danny’s already guaranteed him,” a source close to Jackson’s camp told TKB. “He saw a ton of games at BC this year.”

In spite of this rumor and the fact that he withdrew from the draft combine due to "injury," few mock drafts have Jackson going to Boston. In fact, in spite of Dee's claim that Jackson's stock is soaring, very few mock drafts have him going in the first round. This could be a result of Jackson's withdrawal from the combine due to the undisclosed injury. Chad Ford is one that has him going in the first round, at #23 to Houston. This is what Ford has to say about Jackson to support his pick here:

Kyle Lowry is coming off a career year, but Jackson would give them a very different look. Jackson is a terrific athlete, has a ridiculous 7-foot wingspan and shot the lights out his junior year. He has virtually every quality you look for in a modern NBA point guard and would likely be a good complement to Lowry.

Jackson seems to be Danny's kind of player: We've seen Danny go down this road before, going after a long point guard sized combo guard late in the round. He's drafted Tony Allen, Delonte West, Gabe Pruitt, J.R. Giddens, and Avery Bradley, all of whom fit this profile. With both Avery Bradley and Delonte West both expected to be on the roster next season to back up Rajon Rondo, it gives pause as to whether this is a smokescreen. If Danny is, in fact, going after Jackson then it's possible that Avery Bradley may be used as a trade chip. Danny has been hyping Bradley recently, saying that if he was in this draft, he'd be a top 5 pick. so it's possible he's moving in this direction.

Draft Express ranks Jackson 5th among 2011 guards behind Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, and Jimmer Fredette, all of whom are expected to go in the top half of the first round. What sets Jackson apart from other 6'3" combo guards is his incredible 7 foot wing span which allows him to play much bigger than his size. He is not Rondo quick, but is tremendously athletic and is capable of throwing down some impressive dunks. He is a good defender due to his long wingspan and athleticism. Early in his college career, shooting was his weakness. He seems to have corrected that as this past year, he shot 56% from 2 point range and 42% from beyond the arc.

There are a lot of things that would have to fall into place for this rumor to be true. First, Jackson would need to be available at 25. The fact that Jackson pulled out of the combine because of a mysterious injury might be a move in that direction. After all, Bradley fell to the Celtics last year in spite of being projected much higher because of the ankle injury that kept him from working out for teams. If Danny really is serious about taking Jackson, it's also possible he may make a trade to move up in the draft.  However, in order to make drafting Jackson make sense, Danny must also feel that he has a good market for trading Avery Bradley as having both players, who are fairly similar, wouldn't make a lot of sense.

Check out more Celtics Life draft coverage here.