Justin Jackson scores 18.7 points per game, which ranks seventh in the ACC. However, what if I told you that he could score even more points, without having to increase his usage or take additional shots?
As a wise philosopher once said, “There’s always money in the banana stand.” Well, that logic may apply to Jackson, too. Just go with me for a second.
The junior has evolved into one of the nation’s top three-point bombers; Jackson is shooting a career-high 39.6 percent on three-pointers — a 10 percent improvement over last season. A big reason for that improvement has been his newfound proficiency on catch-and-shoot attempts. This season, according to Synergy Sports, Jackson has connected on 38.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot field goals. In 2015-16, Jackson shot 29.6 percent on catch-and-shoots.
Here is the thing, though: Jackson is shooting a higher clip this season on guarded catch-and-shoots as opposed to unguarded attempts. Jackson, according to Synergy, has made 42.1 percent of his guarded catch-and-shoots (No. 15 in the ACC). Inexplicably, though, he has connected on 28.9 percent of his unguarded catch-and-shoots.
For comparison: Duke’s Luke Kennard — another jump-shooting demon — has made 50 percent of his unguarded catch-and-shoots, according to Synergy, which is a higher number than his rate of guarded attempts (43.5 percent).
Jackson has recorded 38 unguarded catch-and-shoots this season; he has scored on 11 of those possessions. However, let’s just say he shot 40 percent on the same number of attempts; this means he would have scored on 15 of his catch-and-shoots. It may not seem like that much, but if those are all three-pointers, then that is an extra 12 points. That is not nothing.
North Carolina’s superstar is already one of the league’s best catch-and-shoot missile launchers. He ranks second in the ACC in both catch-and-shoot possessions (152) and points (175) — behind only Andrew White. But there is a chance to net an even larger return in this department; Jackson has the capability to shoot a higher clip on these attempts, there’s an excellent change this levels out.
Take cover, America; the Tar Heels could easily become even more dangerous on offense.