The Indiana Pacers big man is another option for the Washington Wizards to upgrade their backup center slot. Considering the Wizards’ desperate need for size, athleticism, and interior presence, they can do much worse than Isaiah Jackson.
The Kentucky product was drafted 22nd overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. Despite being highly effective in his first two seasons, he still hasn’t cracked the Pacers rotation. He has also been forgotten in the deep frontcourt rotation in Indiana that consists of Myles Turner, Jalen Smith, and Obi Toppin. Moreover, they selected Jarace Walker in this year’s draft, adding another big man that they are trying to develop.
This is a major obstacle in terms of playing time for Jackson. The 21-year-old was one of the best rim protectors off the bench last season. His average of 3.2 blocks per 36 minutes ranked 4th in the entire league last season. He is athletic, can rebound, and excels in blocking shots. His offensive game is limited to offensive rebounding and finishing inside the paint, but that is fine.
The Wizards only need him to roll to the rim, crash the boards, and provide physical presence and intensity; basically what they ask Daniel Gafford to do. If the Wizards can get 48 minutes of solid center play, that should do wonders for them defensively. Targeting undervalued and underutilized players like Isaiah Jackson is a great way to find some value on the margins. He should be easily acquirable.