Josh Jackson diary: ‘It’s year two. I feel like I am in year four or five.’
The Suns forward discusses the trade deadline and his progress on the court
The pressure of living up to the hype of being the fourth pick in the 2017 draft. The roller-coaster ride of being a rookie in the NBA. The challenge of already having three head coaches in his young career.
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, who opted for his first haircut in four years this past offseason, is ready for a fresh start, hopeful he can help the Suns emerge from the dark clouds alongside budding star Devin Booker, 2018 No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton and new coach Igor Kokoskov.
In collaboration with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears, Jackson will be giving readers an exclusive look into his sophomore season in his own words. The 22-year-old from Detroit isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind. He once trash-talked with Hall of Famer Gary Payton while playing for a prep school in Napa, California, of all places.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t know me,” Jackson says. “That is part of the reason that I’m doing this diary.”
The following is Part V.
I am not really thinking much about the trade deadline. Whatever happens, I always have been a guy that believes in making the best of the situation, whether I have to see some guys leave the team or I have to leave the team. Whatever happens, I know I am going to make the best of it.
I think anything is possible at this point just because of the record. I don’t think anyone would say that anything over here is going good, so any player on this team could be moved. You never know. It’s a business.
The thing that we all kind of struggle with on our team is figuring out what kind of team we want to be and figuring out our identity. In the beginning of the year, it was hard for all of us to play together. We didn’t know how we wanted to play. Now, we are starting to figure that out a little bit more. We are starting to get more comfortable with each other.
After the loss in Denver [on Jan. 25], we got closer. Guys were more open to saying what they thought and how they felt. It’s because most of us haven’t been around each other that long and don’t know each other that well. So just being able to have that open relationship where you can talk and say how you feel and what you think, knowing that each guy is all here for a common goal, I feel like we all got a lot closer.
It’s been really showing. I feel like I am getting a lot more help from my teammates as far as making sure I am in the right position and making sure I have the ball when I am in my comfortable spots. They know where I am comfortable. I know where they want the ball, so my assists are going up. So that has been really helpful.
I’ve been attacking the basket more and getting to the free throw line more this month. I’m knocking down my free throws, shooting a better percentage. One thing that myself and the coaching staff believe is that no one can really stay in front of me whenever I decide to go to the basket. I can get around the first defender. It’s the help [defense] that is the problem. I’m just getting better at making the decision on when I want to go to the basket and when I want to pass the ball.
ON ALl-Star WEEKEND
Devin Booker deserves to be an All-Star. The argument that I would make is his consistency. I see a lot of players come in that can score, here and there. But he does it on a consistent enough basis to where it should be brought to a lot of people’s attention that this kid is really special, and that he can play.
I don’t have any plans for All-Star Weekend. Just rest. I need a break. It’s been a long season. It’s year two. I feel like I am in year four or five.