Grizzlies analyst pinpoints primary skill Jaren Jackson Jr. must address this summer

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons
Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Despite enduring a tumultuous campaign from an overall team perspective, Memphis Grizzlies star big Jaren Jackson Jr. still managed to put forth one of his most impressive seasons yet.

From posting career-high scoring averages (22.5) to honing his skills as a playmaker for others, the established All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year award-winning youngster proved yet again why he's worth every penny of his lofty $104.7 million deal and that he's deserving of an even bigger pay bump once extension talks open up.

Of course, despite his advancements, there are a few areas of his game that Jackson still needs to improve upon should he wish to reach his fullest potential as an NBA player and, according to Locked on Grizzlies host Joe Mullinax, three-point shooting is at the top of the list.

Grizzlies analyst urges Jaren Jackson Jr. to work on long-range shooting

"Jaren struggled mightily from three this year, [shooting] 32 percent. Not great. He shot 35.5 percent last year. That's better. Unfortunately, he has only had... three of his six seasons where he shot over 35 percent, and only one of those seasons... his second year in the league, did he shoot a dominant 39 percent from beyond the arc. So what does this all mean? This means that regardless of where Jaren plays, whether he's a four or a five, he needs to be a bigger threat from three-point land... If you're going to start Ja Morant, which obviously they are, and if you're going to rely on a guy like a Marcus Smart potentially, which the Grizzlies clearly may, you need more spacing around these guys. You need the ability to shoot threes. You can't just kick that to the curb. That's not a realistic way to do this moving forward. If you're going to compete at the highest level of the NBA you need some three-point threat."

Joe Mullinax

On the season, the Grizzlies star went on to hoist 366 attempts from long range, an increase of 84 shots compared to last season. This rate ranks fourth-most among qualifying centers across the league, though, unfortunately, his conversion rate of 32.0 percent registered as second-worst out of those who shot 200 or more times from beyond the arc.

In all likelihood, this decrease in productivity is in direct correlation with his increased dependency on the offensive side of the ball due to both Ja Morant and Desmond Bane seeing a combined 113 games missed on the season.

Only two times in his career has he shot more attempts from distance than he did in 2023-24, and just once in these instances did he net a conversation rate higher than 32.0 percent (shot 39.4 percent on 368 attempts in 2019-20).

With the aforementioned duo expected to be back to full strength come the start of next year's campaign, the idea is that Jackson will get fewer yet cleaner shots up from the three-point area, which, based on years past, should result in a higher success rate.

Still, the Grizzlies nor the star big man can't afford to bank on this being the case, thus meaning the 24-year-old needs to head to the lab and work extensively on his long-range game through the offseason and into training camp.