3 things suggested free agency target Josh Jackson could bring to Cavs

Memphis Grizzlies wing Josh Jackson shoots the ball. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Memphis Grizzlies wing Josh Jackson shoots the ball. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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Josh Jackson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Memphis Grizzlies wing Josh Jackson goes into the game. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

#1: Jackson would bring quality defense to the Cleveland Cavaliers

Coming out of Kansas, one of Jackson’s selling points was his defense and, looking at some statistics, you can see as to why that was the case. Jackson was one of only three freshmen on the Jayhawks for the 2016-17 season. He was also the only freshman to play more than 13 minutes per game.

Looking at his college statistics, Jackson averaged 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game for the Jayhawks, as well as led them in defensive win shares and steal percentage. He would be second in defensive box plus-minus, albeit he played nearly 1,000 more minutes than the player with the highest DBPM on the team: Dwight Coleby.

Fast forward to his time in the NBA and Jackson’s defense is still something that is noticed by his peers. In a February interview with Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins, he would give praise towards Jackson’s defense, stating that Jackson is “continuing to be active defensively,” per Sports Illustrated‘s Anthony Sain.

Looking at statistics, since January 29, Jackson’s NBA first game in 2019-20, of all of the Grizzlies’ three-man lineups with 70 or more minutes played, three of the five lineups with the best defensive rating feature Jackson, according to NBA.com.

At 6-foot-8, Jackson has defensive versatility, something the Cavaliers have been desperately looking for. Jackson has mainly played the small forward and shooting guard positions in his NBA career but, on the Cavaliers, we could see him guard small-ball 4’s when necessary. His defensive prowess would make him a great signing for the Cavs.