As Vince Carter would know better than anyone else, he points out one key item in which will lead to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. to a successful NBA career.
One of the only hopes for a member of the Memphis Grizzlies to receive a postseason award was by way of rookie standout Jaren Jackson Jr. Sure enough, he made his way on to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team, which even caught the attention of the legendary Vince Carter.
Despite appearing in just 58 of 82 regular season games, largely in part of the Grizzlies operating with precaution around a minor ailment belonging to Jackson Jr., there is a lot of hype surrounding the 19-year old. He can defend and swat shots with the best the NBA has to offer, plus he has a smooth outside shooting touch. He can play in the paint or roam the perimeter. The 6’11” power forward demonstrated that he can do it all on the court.
These types of players do not come around very often. This has earned Jaren Jackson Jr. NBA comparisons to the likes of Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, and other Hall-of-Fame-caliber names. Given the hype and comparisons for such a young star player, it should come as no surprise that Vince Carter — also a former member of the Memphis Grizzlies — had high praise for the sophomore-to-be.
Carter and Jackson Jr. were getting some screen time via ESPN prior to the NBA Finals Game 4 on Friday evening. Right out of the gate, “Vinsanity” wanted to discuss Jaren’s rookie campaign and the promise his skill set demonstrated in Year One. The full segment can be viewed here:
As Jaren Jackson Jr. was describing his first season while playing alongside long-time Memphis Grizzlies veterans Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, he touched upon one key item. “Asking questions” was the phrase. This made Vince Carter light up.
Carter goes on to explain that this is the difference-maker for your players today coming up in the uber-competitive NBA. It is all about learning each and every day in the league, and a big part of that is asking questions to the guys who have been most successful for so many years.
Since Jackson Jr. virtually played in only one-half of the season schedule’s games, there was plenty of time to watch, learn, and…ask questions. Even during timeouts of games, while dressed in street clothes, Jackson Jr. could oftentimes be seen discussing plays with the Grizzlies’ veteran players and/or assistant coaches, namely Jerry Stackhouse and Nick Van Exel.
A large key to Stackhouse and Van Exel both earning the respect of Grizzlies players in 2018-19 was because they brought so many years of playing experience to the table. They had answers when players — such as Jaren — asked questions. This is why it will hurt more than most people realize to see Memphis without both Stackhouse and Van Exel on the sideline next season. However, it provides more incentive for the Grizzlies to hire a coaching staff littered with former NBA players.
If you have not bought into the Jaren Jackson Jr. hype yet for some strange reason, now is the time to fully commit. Vince Carter has officially given his sign-off, and it is not just because Jaren “blocked [his] shot” this season.