Josh Jackson has played for four teams and various coaches in the last five years. For a guy taken fourth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, it would be easy to feel like all the movement prevented him from genuinely sticking anywhere.
However, the 25-year-old Raptor hopeful is seemingly taking responsibility for his basketball fortunes. At the moment, Jackson is attempting to win the final spot on the Rosters roster after signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal in August.
“Every place is different,” Jackson said, per the Toronto Star.” I can’t say that every organization that I’ve been a part of has been great in helping its players succeed, but with that, what I have learned is you’ve got to be the one to make sure that you’re getting everything that you need.
“You have to make sure you’re working on the things you need to work on because, at the end of the day, it is your career; it’s not theirs.”
Jackson is fighting for a roster spot after lasting two seasons with the Suns, who traded him to Memphis in a four-player-deal after the 2018-19 season with which he played 22 games. As a free agent, Jackson ended up signing with his hometown Detroit Pistons, with whom he spent a season-and-a-half before ending the 2021-22 season with the Sacramento Kings.
“I’m a strong believer in just taking something away from everything that happens — good or bad,” he said. “That’s all I’ve been trying to do my entire time in the League and also from mistakes that I’ve made in the past. I’m trying to help young players to not make those same mistakes. Any time I can give a little bit of knowledge that I have to another player who’s come up after me, I take the chance.”
Jackson is battling Justin Champagnie, D.J. Wilson, and Gabe Brown for Toronto’s final roster spot, but it seems like none of the four have firmly made their case . Jackson’s case is aided by his relationship with Raptors assistant coaches Earl Watson and Nate Bjorkgren in Phoenix. The two coaches were consulted before Toronto signed Jackson.
Jackson contributed 13 points and was a plus-24 when Toronto beat the Celtics in overtime last week, 125-119. Jackson, Brown, and Wilson were effective during Toronto’s fourth-quarter rally that produced that Toronto preseason win. Champagnie missed three of Toronto’s preseason games with a hip injury and played just eight minutes in Sunday’s loss to Chicago.
“I think he knows he needs to continue to work at his game,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Those guys, at that part of their careers, certainly don’t want you to think,” Well, we’re not sure if you’re gonna work hard. He’s done a good job with all that stuff. He’s been around. He’s a pro. It took him a little while to make an impact. We’ve figured out how to put him in some situations, and he’s taken advantage of that, especially in that (Boston) game.”
Jackson and his contemporaries have their final chance to make their case on Friday when Toronto closes the preseason against Boston Celtics.
Jackson told the Toronto Star that he appreciates being able to compete for a roster, and he’s comfortable with whatever the outcome is.
“Everybody’s been super respectful here, super nice. Definitely glad that I got to where I am now. I still have the opportunity to do what I love to do, and I’m going to come out and make the best of it every day. I’m gonna come out and work hard, give it everything I’ve got, and if that’s not enough, that’s not enough.”
The Raptors open the season with a home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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