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Isaiah Jackson a good fit for Knicks or Nets

The Nets and Knicks are different boroughs, different styles and different stages in their development. But they’re both eyeing the same Kentucky star, and Isaiah Jackson is convinced he could fit – and excel – for either.

With the 2021 NBA Draft fast approaching next Thursday at Barclays Center, he could get a chance to prove it.

Jackson has worked out for both teams and been invited to the Green Room on draft night, expected to be one of the Top 20 picks. He’s tabbed to go No. 19 to the Knicks by Tankathon, while they also pick 21st and Brooklyn 27th.

The 6-10 ½, 206 lb. teen is still raw after just a lone year in Lexington, but is convinced he can still help the win-now Nets. His defensive dirty work could unburden 30-something veterans Kevin and Blake Griffin in the frontcourt.

“In the workout we did a number of things. They wanted me to go there and show what I could do,” said Jackson. “Everybody from the front office was there, but I met with Steve Nash. We talked, I had a great workout too, so it was a plus.

Isiah Jackson
Isaiah Jackson believes he can fit right in with the Nets or the Knicks.
AP

“The feedback there was good. I think they really want me. I feel like I can bring it all, especially in the playoffs where they had KD playing the five I feel like I could fit that role, just put KD at the four and let him do his thing. And I feel like some of the older guys like Blake Griffin, I could fill that role too as well just him, keeping him from not having to play as many minutes as he’s been playing.”

The 19-year-old was mocked as high as No. 12 by CBS Sports to San Antonio, and he’s worked out for the Hawks, Hornets, Kings, Pacers, Rockets, Thunder and aforementioned Spurs.

Jackson averaged 8.4 points and 6.6 boards in his one year in Lexington, 13.3 and 6.9 over his last seven tilts. But he was inspired to take up the sports by watching Kevin Garnett’s ferocious style, and it’s his rebounding, shot-blocking and most of all switchable defense that fit perfectly in Brooklyn, an even younger Nic Claxton.

But even though the Knicks play a different style with traditional centers like Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel alongside a Julius Randle-led assembly line of bruising power forwards, Jackson claimed he could also mesh on that young roster.

Isaiah Jackson
Jackson’s worked out with the Knicks, Nets Hawks, Hornets, Kings, Pacers, Rockets, Thunder and Spurs.
AP

“I feel like I could fit in real well,” said Jackson. “I don’t think they’re gonna have me playing like a traditional big, but I feel like I could fit that role if you want to go small ball. I could play the five and guard anybody and also stretch the floor, if needed. I feel like it’d be real fun playing with those guys as well too.”

Naturally it helps that the Knicks recreated Kentucky, with VP William Wesley, assistant Kenny Payne and five ex-Wildcats: Randle, Noel, Immanuel Quickley, Kevin Knox and even Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last year.

“Yeah of course, they’ve got a lot of Kentucky guys, so I feel like I’d fit in real well. I had a great workout there, too,” said Jackson. “I really, really enjoyed the competitiveness we had during the workout. I liked the facility, I like the city, so it was good, all-in-all.”